We're heading into earnings season, so expect a slow start to get frenetic over the next couple of weeks. Come Monday, you can look forward to W. W. Grainger (NYSE: GWW) kicking things off. Analysts predict that earnings will climb 16% to $1.36 a share for the quarter. Investors may expect a little more, since the industrial-supplies specialist has narrowly topped estimates in each of the six previous quarters.

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) and Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) follow on Tuesday. Johnson & Johnson is more than just a Big Pharma bellwether. It's actually bucked the trend of its volatile peers by posting slow yet steady growth. In contrast, chip maker Intel is a more cyclical beast, providing plenty of ups and downs.

(Nasdaq: EBAY) is Wednesday's featured action. Having concluded Meg Whitman's final quarter at the company, investors will be hungry for answers. Will lower insertion fees bring back listings growth? Did the recent seller boycott leave a dent? Will eBay stick to its conservative guidance of meager growth for the balance of 2008? And perhaps most crucially, why can't I get a Honus Wagner baseball card for pocket change?

AMD (NYSE: AMD) checks in just two days after larger rival Intel does. Slap both reports together, and you'll have an ideal snapshot of the microchip industry.

On a bigger stage, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) reports. This will be a big report, perhaps even the biggest quarter yet in Google's young history. Market-research companies have been talking up a slowdown in search traffic and ad clicks, but now we'll get to hear it directly from the horse's mouth. Has online advertising growth slowed, or are advertisers paying more to generate leads through Google's paid-search platform? Spill it, Google.

The week closes with Citigroup (NYSE: C) on the earnings stage. It's hard to imagine things getting much worse for the company, since it's already slashed its dividend and taken hits on its investments. Wall Street expects the financial-services giant to post a steep loss for the quarter. That bundle of misery is already baked into Citigroup's stock; the crucial question now is whether the company sees light at the end of the tunnel.

Until next week, I remain,
Rick Munarriz

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz recommends windshield wiper fluid when trying to look forward. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy.