7 Reasons Not to Worry This Week

Things aren't always pretty out there, even though the market bounced back last week after a dreadful third quarter. The S&P 500 bounced back with a 2.12% gain, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite came through with an even stronger 2.65% uptick.

I recently went over some of the companies posting lower quarterly profits and hosing down their near-term outlooks.

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

My Watchlist

Alcoa (NYS: AA)




PepsiCo (NYS: PEP)




Universal Forest Products (NAS: UFPI)




Fastenal (NAS: FAST)




Google (NAS: GOOG)




Safeway (NYS: SWY)




Mattel (NYS: MAT)




Source: Thomson Reuters.

Clearing the table
Let's start at the top with Alcoa.

The demand for industrial metals has been in the news lately, and it's largely about the sudden drop in copper demand and prices. Thankfully for Alcoa investors, aluminum isn't copper. Analysts see Alcoa's profits more than doubling on an 18% surge in revenue when it reports tomorrow.

PepsiCo is another pop star milking its bottom line. The company behind its namesake soda line, Frito-Lay snack chips, and Gatorade thirst quenchers is likely to slightly grow its earnings when it reports on Wednesday.

Universal Forest Products is a wood and wood-alternative specialist. We've seen the leading hardwood flooring retailer and the leading maker of patio deck materials go into a lumber slumber this summer, so why should Universal Forest hold up any better? Well, its consumer products cover more than just big-ticket home improvement projects. The pros see profitability here nearly tripling this time around.

Fastenal is rolling. The nut and bolt maker is coming off a strong quarter where revenue and net income climbed 23% and 36%, respectively.

Google is the global search leader -- and by default the world's top dog in the lucrative paid search market. Forget Big G's healthy success with its Android smartphone and tablet platform. It's spending more money to protect its patents than it's making on the "free" mobile operating system. Google's business continues to be serving up targeted ads, and advertisers have no problem paying top dollar to outbid rival keyword sponsors for exposure.

Safeway took a hit this summer, after the supermarket chain warned that the weak economic climate would keep same-store sales low for the balance of the year. There's little reason to expect that thesis to change -- two months later -- but at least Wall Street feels that Safeway is still taking baby steps forward on the bottom line.

Finally, we have Mattel reporting its final financials before heading into the telltale holiday shopping season. Retailers have already been ordering what they believe will be the hot toys come December, so Mattel should have a good sense of where it stands.

Cross those fingers, but know the fundamentals
Investors in these seven 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 seven stocks wouldn't have it any other way.

Are you a buyer or a seller of stocks these days? Share your strategy in the comment box below.

At the time thisarticle was published The Motley Fool owns shares of Universal Forest Products, PepsiCo, and Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of PepsiCo, Mattel, and Google; and creating a diagonal call position in PepsiCo. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz calls them as he sees them. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. Rick is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.

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