It's not a perfect world out there for investors.
It's not just Greece that's a mess. Moody's cut the credit rating on a whopping 16 banks in Spain on Thursday.
I recently went over some of the companies that are expected to post lower quarterly profits when they report this week.
Thankfully, they're the exceptions and not the rule. Let's go over some publicly traded companies that are expected to stand tall this week by posting year-over-year improvement on the bottom line.
Latest-Quarter EPS (estimated)
Year-Ago Quarter EPS
Source: Thomson Reuters.
Clearing the table
Let's start at the top with Cracker Barrel Old Country Store.
As far as casual dining goes, Cracker Barrel is pretty unique. The inviting front porch with wooden rocking chairs and checker games is an unmistakable sight off of major highways, particularly in the southeast. Inside, guests walk through a rustic gift shop selling throwback goods before getting to the hostess counter to be seated and treated to comfort food from the South.
We can't dismiss the magnetism of the gift shop. A Cracker Barrel exclusive -- a recent CD/DVD by Dolly Parton -- was just certified as going gold. When was the last time a restaurant chain alone was enough to push 500,000 copies of a music release?
Sardar Biglari moved to shake things up as an activist investor last year, but Cracker Barrel is making sure that it's moving along on its own. It bumped its quarterly dividend 60% higher last month. The chain still needs to work on its sales growth, but at least analysts see modest bottom-line growth when it reports on Tuesday.
Williams-Sonoma is a high-end retailer of kitchen wares. Between booming bridal registries and consumers who finally have a little extra money to treat their kitchens to some stylish upgrades, it isn't a surprise to see profitability on the rise at the chain.
Qihoo 360 is proof that there's still monster growth to be had in China. The Beijing-based provider of anti-virus software and other Web programs is one of the few recent Chinese IPOs to be trading well above its IPO. Qihoo 360 went public at $14.50.
China may be slowing, but the demand for Qihoo's online security products is booming. Wall Street feels that profitability will nearly triple on a 164% surge in revenue.
Costco is the biggest name on this week's list. The warehouse club sells bulk-packaged items at great savings in its bare warehouse setting. This is a big draw for deal-seekers, but the company had no problem pushing through a rate increase on its annual membership fee last year.
Finally, we have MakeMyTrip. India's leading travel portal may be backed by the world's second most populous market, but its citizenry doesn't do a lot of traveling. A lot of things are changing in India, though, led by the country's push to beef up its Internet infrastructure. That's a move that should obviously be of great benefit to MakeMyTrip. For now, analysts are looking for the dot-com to double its results on the bottom line when it reports on Thursday.
Cross those fingers, but know the fundamentals
Investors in these five stocks have a right to be excited. They are all improving their financial situations. They are worthy of the gains that the market rally has bestowed upon them over the past year.
I wouldn't be uncomfortable owning any of these companies. They're doing the right thing, regardless of Mr. Market's mood swings.
The expectations may be high, but these five stocks wouldn't have it any other way.
The Motley Fool owns shares of Costco Wholesale. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Costco Wholesale and Williams-Sonoma. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz calls them as he sees them. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story, except for Cracker Barrel. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.