It's not a perfect world out there for investors, but things may be starting to get better.
The market's coming off another week of encouraging economic news as housing and employment data point to a continuing recovery.
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.
|Company||Latest Quarter EPS (estimated)||Year-Ago Quarter EPS|
|Diamond Foods (NASDAQ:DMND)||($0.17)||($0.22)|
|Ulta (NASDAQ:ULTA) Beauty||$0.62||$0.54|
|H&R Block (NYSE:HRB)||$2.61||$2.04|
|LDK Solar (NYSE:LDK)||($0.96)||($1.46)|
|Capstone Turbine (NASDAQ:CPST)||($0.01)||($0.03)|
Source: Thomson Reuters.
Clearing the table
Let's start at the top with Diamond Foods, Inc. (NASDAQ:DMND). The company behind Kettle potato chips, Pop Secret microwaveable popcorn, and its signature nut snacks has been pretty volatile for a food company. It's certainly not light on drama, as investors found out last year when it lost out on its deal to acquire Pringles in light of illegal payments to walnut growers that resulted in its CEO and CFO being ousted last year.
Analysts see Diamond Foods, Inc. (NASDAQ:DMND) posting a loss in its latest quarter, but it should be a narrower deficit than it posted a year earlier.
Ulta Beauty runs a chain of salons that sell beauty care products and perform salon services. This is a growing business, as expansion and same-store sales have combined for consistently healthy double-digit revenue growth over the years.
Analysts see a profit of $0.62 per share in earnings from Ulta, but the only real surprise here would be if it only earns that much. Ulta has blasted through Wall Street income targets in each of the past 17 quarters.
H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE:HRB) is the country's leading tax preparer. This is the money quarter for the accounting services juggernaut, since it includes the April 15 tax filing deadline.
H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE:HRB) and its peers stumbled earlier this year. The fiscal cliff standoff at the end of last year delayed the start of tax filing season. There was also a poorly publicized change in one particular form that led to refund delays for some H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE:HRB) clients (as well as those who filed elsewhere). However, all of these tax code changes probably helped H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE:HRB), as confused taxpayers sought out professional advice this time around.
LDK Solar is yet another solar energy company that's losing money. Its heavily leveraged balance sheet and recent partial default on bonds that came due have some wondering if it will survive the inevitable shakeout.
Analysts see LDK generating less than half as much revenue as it did a year earlier, but they do see it shining through with a narrowing deficit. LDK will have to do more than that to stick around in the long run, but it's at least a baby step in the right direction.
Finally, we have Capstone. The microturbine maker saw its shares soar 12% last week. The move wasn't in anticipation of a blowout quarter this week; Capstone announced a new order earlier in the week to kick off the rally.