It's not a perfect world out there for investors.
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
Green Mountain Coffee
Source: Thomson Reuters.
Clearing the table
Let's start at the top with First Solar.
Anyone who's been following the solar energy sector may be surprised to see any of its players actually growing on the bottom line. Demand has cooled in crisis-torn Europe, and even China hasn't been the hotbed that it used to be for this green energy specialty.
Hold the confetti, though. Analysts still see First Solar earning far less this year than it did in 2011. What may be even more problematic as we head toward Wednesday's quarterly report is that First Solar has missed analyst estimates -- badly -- over the past year.
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters has gone from market darling to ground up like the brewed beans in its Keurig K-Cups.
The bearish case against Green Mountain has centered largely on the K-Cup patents that expire at the end of this current quarter, but a few analysts see that business is slowing even before we get to that important event.
Activision Blizzard is bucking the trend. Video game sales have been sluggish for three years, but analysts still see the market leader moving higher on the bottom line this time. Projecting roughly 20% gains in revenue and profitability may seem optimistic given the bleak video game trends data provided monthly by the industry watcher NPD Group, but Activision Blizzard has smoked past analyst targets consistently over the past year.
ZAGG always seems to be climbing a wall of worry. The company behind the invisibleSHIELD screen protectors for smartphones and tablets has been feasting on the booming popularity of iPhones and Android smartphones with screens worth protecting.
Cynics argue that knock-offs of the thin protective films -- and intense competition across the company's other gadget accessories -- make ZAGG a bad bet. However, the company has come through with back-to-back blowout quarters. This time around analysts see a chunky profit of $0.18 a share on 53% top-line growth.
Finally, we have Zipcar shifting into gear. Even though the car-sharing leader has managed to beat analyst profit estimates in each and every quarter since going public a little over a year ago, the stock is trading well below last year's IPO.
The pros feel that Zipcar will merely break even when it reports on Thursday, but that's a healthy improvement from the deficit that it posted a year earlier.