It's not a perfect world out there for investors, but things may be starting to get better.

Last week's rally -- after back-to-back weekly setbacks -- was certainly welcome. The Dow rallied 3.3%, and that actually lagged the slightly stronger showings out of the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite.

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 (NASDAQ:GMCR.DL)




The Fresh Market (NASDAQ: TFM)




Liquidity Services (NASDAQ:LQDT)




Mentor Graphics (NASDAQ:MENT)




Pacific Sunwear (NASDAQ: PSUN)




Source: Thomson Reuters.

Clearing the table
Let's start at the top with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters.

The java heavy behind the Keurig single-cup brewer isn't growing as quickly as it was when its K-Cups were all the rage in the coffee industry. The expiration of two material K-Cup patents two months ago isn't helping, but Keurig was stumbling earlier this year ahead of that mid-September event.

Analysts see revenue climbing 27% higher at Green Mountain, but the pros see profitability barely inching higher. A silver lining here is that Green Mountain has actually surpassed Wall Street income targets in two of the past three quarters.

The Fresh Market runs a chain of small yet upscale grocery stores. Specializing in fresh produce, prepared meals, and an old-school butcher shop, well-to-do shoppers flock to The Fresh Market when they want quality ingredients.

Things have worked out well for investors since the supermarket operator went public two years ago at $22. The stock has nearly tripled in that time.

True to its name, Liquidity Services runs online marketplaces that help manufacturers of overstocked goods to liquidate their surplus and salvage assets.

Analysts see a profit of $0.36 a share, well ahead of the $0.20 a share it posted a year earlier. Don't be surprised if it's even more than that. The forecast may seem aggressive, but Liquidity Services has a funny way of making analysts appear to be underachievers. You have to go back three years to find the last time that the company didn't earn more than what Wall Street was expecting.

Mentor Graphics is an Oregon-based provider of electronic hardware and software design solutions. It was one of activist investor Carl Icahn's targets last year, and now it's merely trying to pull its own weight. Thankfully for investors, Mentor's growing.

Like Liquidity Services, Mentor's working on an impressive streak of delivering market-thumping results. The company has surpassed Mr. Market's profit target every single quarter for more than two years.

Finally we have Pacific Sunwear reporting. PacSun is an apparel retailer with an emphasis on beachwear and other sporty clothing.

The red ink that's expected won't come as a surprise to longtime investors. Sadly, you have to all the way back to 2008 to find the last time that PacSun rang up a quarterly profit. However, the deficits have been narrowing, and should continue to do so when PacSun 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.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.