I'm sorry.

I may have frightened you on Friday, when I talked about seven stocks that may be minefields this week. Those seven companies -- despite the general upbeat market sentiment over the past year -- are going the wrong way. In short, they're expected to post lower earnings this week than they did during the same quarter a year earlier.

The news isn't all bummer-ific, though. Many companies are growing in this iffy operating climate.

Let's go over seven companies that analysts see posting healthier bottom lines this week.


Latest Quarter's EPS (Estimated)

Year-Ago Quarter's EPS

Winnebago (NYSE: WGO)



TheStreet.com (Nasdaq: TSCM)



FactSet Research (NYSE: FDS)



KongZhong (Nasdaq: KONG)



Guess? (NYSE: GES)



Ross Stores (Nasdaq: ROST)






Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Clearing the table
Let's start at the top. Winnebago was at the wrong place at the wrong time a couple of years ago, when gasoline prices were spiking and real estate prices were crumbling. Selling people a house on wheels wasn't going to be easy in that environment. Winnebago has gone on to post six consecutive quarterly losses since then, and analysts think Thursday's report will be the seventh deficit in a row. However, the pros expect a substantially narrower loss this time around, as Winnebago tries to roll its way toward a turnaround.

TheStreet.com is about more than just Jim Cramer. The popular financial-website operator serves up a wide spectrum of investing research through its RealMoney.com, Stockpickr.com, and namesake sites. The stock has more than doubled since bottoming out last year, even though it has still posted four consecutive quarterly losses. Wall Street now thinks the company will break even this year. To ease the pain, it also pays a dividend. The payout is certainly modest, but given the low share price, it amounts to a reasonable yield of 2.7%.

FactSet's trade is also financial research, but its emphasis is on institutional investors. The company's proprietary databases and portfolio analysis tools -- along with its deep archives of third-party content and data -- make it indispensable for money managers. Angling for the institutional market also makes it more predictable than the ups and downs one finds in reaching out to individual investors.

KongZhong specializes in wireless value-added services in China. This is a pretty volatile business, since Chinese regulators and mobile service providers typically frown on these premium third-party diversions. Some of them have even occasionally blocked the company's billing practices entirely. Well, Mr. Market sees KongZhong exhaling nicely this time around.

Guess? and Ross Stores operate at different ends of the apparel spectrum. Ross is a haven of discounts on clothing for the entire family, while Guess? and its trendy wares aim for a slightly higher-end suburban mall shopper. There is no consensus on the state of apparel these days. It appears to be feast or famine on a retailer-specific basis. Well, both Guess? and Ross appear to have been feasting over the holidays.

Finally, we have FedEx. The stifling economy, coupled with the trend toward digital delivery of documents, may have weighed on the company when the recession was at its bleakest. But analysts think FedEx is back on track. This should be the first time in more than a year that the speedy delivery icon posts year-over-year growth on the bottom line.  

Cross those fingers, but know the fundamentals
These aren't the only companies expected to post year-over-year gains this week. Several companies have either found ways to grow during the recession or have simply cut enough corners to show improvement on the bottom line.

That doesn't mean that investors can rest easy, though. The bad news is that these companies are expected to post improving results, and since the the optimism is already baked into their share prices, it becomes easier for them to slip. But why begin worrying about the companies that we aren't supposed to be worrying about?

If analysts are doing a good job modeling their profit targets, we'll be just fine.

Which of the many earnings reports due out this week are you looking forward to? Share your enthusiasm in the comments box below.

FactSet Research Systems is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. FedEx is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. The Fool owns shares of FactSet Research Systems. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. It will give you one less reason to worry this week.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz prefers to look at the bright side of life -- and strife. He owns no shares in any of the companies in this story and is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.