Grocers and brokers will lead the way in the week of earnings that lies ahead. Let's take a closer look.

This day may bring back some good memories for Comverse Technology (NASDAQ:CMVT). A year ago, the leader in multimedia telecommunications applications posted its first quarterly profit since the tail end of 2002. The company has been able to keep the momentum going ever since.

Back in December, the company posted healthy third-quarter results, with sales rising by a sharp 27%. Sporting a balance sheet stocked with $2.2 billion in cash -- or nearly half of the company's market cap -- Comverse has been on a roll. The shares have tripled since bottoming out in the fall of 2002, and a continued recovery (possibly sparked by Monday's financials) can give the stock even more room to run in the near term.

If it's Tuesday, it must be supermarket checkout time. Last week, it was the country's largest operator, Kroger (NYSE:KR), on the earnings block. This Tuesday, it will be Alberston's (NYSE:ABS) set to deliver.

While the grocery outfits have been expressing their woes as they struggle to compete against warehouse clubs, discount department superstores, and even the aftermath of labor struggles, Albertson's is actually starting to come around. Three months ago, it saw its quarterly earnings march 19% higher. That doesn't mean that it's getting a whole lot of love on Wall Street, though, as its stock is trading near its 52-week lows. How will the fourth-quarter numbers stack up for the country's second-largest supermarket chain? We will soon find out if the company is able to nail analyst estimates of $0.54 a share.

Though it may simply feel like a bad sign to have the word "bear" in the name of an investment banker that would prefer to see bullish times, Bear Stearns (NYSE:BSC) hasn't let its name hold it back. With the market bouncing back and new companies fighting tooth-and-nail to go public, Bear Stearns won't be complaining. Come Wednesday, Bear Stearns shouldn't be disappointing, either, with its fiscal first-quarter showing.

Small names with big brands like Nike (NYSE:NKE) and FedEx (NYSE:FDX) will pony up their quarterly earnings come Thursday. For Nike, it will be the first time that Philip Knight, who retired as CEO in January after an incredible run, won't be there to dispense the financials.

He left the company in great shape, with improving margins and a healthy dose of future orders lined up. After suffering a hiccup late in Knight's tenure, it quickly recovered in 2003 and will now start a new chapter with someone else at the helm.

If you spend your life putting money into malls, shouldn't you start getting a little bit back? Mills (NYSE:MLS) is the company behind those huge outlet malls that bargain hunters seem to flock to all year round. Things have been going well for the company lately: Its shares have more than doubled over the past three years. On the other hand, it still yields an impressive 4.6%.

That fat payout may prove tempting to our Income Investor readers, but the company does have valuation concerns. As a REIT, or real estate investment trust, it pays out most of its funds from operations in the form of quarterly dividends. And with lots of higher-yielding REITs out there, Mills is commanding a lofty earnings multiple compared with its peers. The company, however, is also growing its bottom line nicely, so you, like the typical Mills shopper, may want to wait until the price gets closer to the bargain bin.

Want to learn more about the companies waiting to report earnings this week? Check out:

Until next week, I remain,

Rick Munarriz

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz thinks he'll do Mills investors a favor or two by heading out for a thrifty shopping spree at Sawgrass Mills over the weekend. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.