Cars and dot-com stars will play bit parts in the week of news that is waiting to happen.

It's earnings season again. I think that translates, loosely in Latin, into "no sleep till mid-November." The new week will bring some of the biggest companies up to the podium, and it starts on Monday with General Motors (NYSE:GM). After a strong spring helped along by its employee-discount marketing promotion, sales of new cars tanked over the summer. High gas prices and retail weakness aren't helping, but perhaps the campaign that seemed ingenious at first is going to backfire when prospective car buyers hold out after being spoiled by the seasonal discounting. The company will let investors know how it fared though all of this -- and how the 2006 models are doing -- to kick off the week.

If it's Tuesday, it must be Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO). That's how it will feel, anyway, as the online giant comes through with its latest report. How is it doing with its bargain-priced music subscription service? How is the beta of its Yahoo! Publishing Network going? Is the company gunning for Google or Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) these days? It may very well be packing a double barrel on that front.

The company is off to a good start so far in 2005, with revenue soaring 53% higher through the first half of the year and profits more than quadrupling. There were some concerns that the hot paid-search advertising market was starting to cool off over the summer, so the Yahoo! report will be critical in assessing the state of the online marketplace in wooing sponsors.

It will be Whitman Wednesday as eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) chieftain Meg Whitman spills the beans on her company's September quarter results. After a dramatic uptick in its domestic auction business in the second quarter after a string of growth deceleration, I think most eyes will be wandering down to the part in the corporate press release, where the company gives the specifics on its stateside operation. It may not be fair, especially since PayPal and the company's overseas business now make up more of the company's revenue than its original domestic marketplace business does. Still, it's an important gauge to see how eBay -- a Motley Fool Stock Advisor newsletter pick -- is faring on its home turf as it tackles the challenges and promising potential everywhere else.

After you've digested Yahoo! and eBay, what could make this three-course dot-com meal complete? Oh, right. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG)! The search wiz will be posting its fifth quarter as a public company on Thursday. This quarter is very important for Google's stock. After blowing the market away through its first three public quarters, the company proved mortal last time out. With Yahoo!'s report likely to fuel expectations one way or another after its quarterly results two days earlier, investors will be anxious to learn whether Google is back to its market-trouncing superhero mold. With its stock stuck in the $300 range since summer started, this could be the day the company's shares redefine their direction.

Fridays are usually sleepy days, but not during earnings season. This week, it will be Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) mowing down its numbers. The agricultural equipment maker is expected to earn $1.07 a share for the quarter. That would be its best showing in ages and well ahead of the $0.71 per share it generated in profits a year earlier. With a bountiful fiscal harvest likely from Caterpillar, you shouldn't find yourself going hungry over the following weekend.

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 recommends windshield wiper fluid when trying to look forward. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. T he 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.