The markets and exchange traded funds (ETFs) may be stabilizing, but many businesses may reveal third-quarter results that are a mere shadow of their prior-year levels.

For a majority of companies, third-quarter results could be below those of 2008, with per-share profits for the S&P 500 at a projected drop of 15.4%. More than 340 businesses could see a year-over-year drop in profits, according to Zacks. Projected revenues show median company sales may drop 7.2%, with more than 360 companies expected to experience a year-over-year drop in earnings.

There are a lucky few that are forecasting actual earnings growth compared to last year:

Homebuilders. First off, conditions were already deteriorating and mortgages were hard to come by last year. Secondly, more new and existing home sales translates to a more stable housing market.

  • SPDR S&P Homebuilders (NYSEArca: XHB): up 35.4% year-to-date


Insurance. Insurance companies can potentially pull off double-digit growth. Some firms can bounce back higher from prior-year losses while others may see true growth. Property and causality insurers have been sparred by a calm hurricane season so far, and most insurers benefited from a recovering financial market.

  • KBW Insurance (NYSEArca: KIE): up 33.2% year-to-date


Health Care. The medical sector is still raking in the profits. The sector is not correlated to commodity prices and is less economically sensitive. The result is that medical companies are showing both revenues and earnings growth this quarter.

  • Vanguard Health Care (NYSEArca: VHT): up 12.7% year-to-date

On the flip side, here are a few sectors that could report contractions:

Commodity. Commodity-related companies reported strong profits last year and as a result, energy and metals companies may show drops in third-quarter profits this year.

  • iShares Dow Jones U.S. Oil & Gas Ex Index (NYSEArca: IEO): up 33.8% year-to-date

  • PowerShares DB Base Metals (NYSEArca: DBB): up 53.7% year-to-date

Banks. Many banks still remain unprofitable. High joblessness, high level of foreclosures and poor real estate market all affect banks. The result is a projected report of losses for the sector.

  • iShares Dow Jones U.S. Financial Sector Index Fund (NYSEArca: IYF): up 20.1% year-to-date


Max Chen contributed to this article.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.