Retail will chime in early and often in the new trading week. Hastings Entertainment (NASDAQ:HAST) will be announcing its fiscal fourth-quarter financials on Monday morning. I received an email earlier this month from a small portfolio manager who feels that has been resoundingly negative on the company. The heartland media retailer has been challenged in many of its areas lately, with CD sales drying up, video rentals migrating online, and video games in a holding pattern until all of the next-generation consoles hit the market. However, the company has more stable lines like books and consumer electronics, which have helped Hastings hold up a little better than its niche-specializing brethren. We'll see Monday if the pessimism has been warranted, or if the company is bucking the trend with a vengeance.

Payday comes early as Paychex (NASDAQ:PAYX) reports on its fiscal third quarter. The payroll specialist may not be a household name -- and blasphemous at a spelling bee -- but it has actually been one of the market's better-performing stocks since the 1990s. You could have actually picked up a share in the company back in 1990 at a split-adjusted price of less than $0.50. The company has beaten earnings for three straight quarters, so momentum is on its side as it looks to best analysts' target of $0.31 a share in quarterly earnings by a penny or two this time. Yes, folks, there is money in payrolls.

The burning question of the day? Why is Ruby Tuesday (NYSE:RI) posting results on a Wednesday? Okay, so maybe that isn't one of the more smoldering queries that Ruby Tuesday will be facing. Personally, I'd be interested to learn why the company has been backing off on pitching its healthier menu items. Three years ago, Ruby Tuesday went from a tired casual dining concept to a leading-edge restaurateur after adding carb-counting menu items and replacing its frying oil with canola. It set a new trend a few months after that by becoming the first major chain to provide complete nutritional information on its menu. These days, the new televised ads out of Ruby Tuesday are all about their stacked, pint-sized burgers. Don't assume the marketing shift is flawed, however. The stock has risen by nearly 50% since bottoming out last year. Let's see what the company has on the menu this time around.

One of the last retailers to chime in with its holiday sales report is also one of the most significant. Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) steps up to the plate on Thursday to let us know how many iPods, Xbox 360s, and large-screen televisions it sold. With our appetite for consumer electronics only growing, this active Motley Fool Stock Advisor newsletter pick should have plenty of juice to keep it going in the near term.

We close out the trading week with Embraer (NYSE:ERJ). The Brazilian jet maker has been able to thrive where many of its airplane-manufacturing rivals have failed, mainly by landing choice contracts. For instance, it's the company supplying fast-growing JetBlue (NASDAQ:JBLU) with its new fleet of planes. Not surprisingly, both Embraer and JetBlue have been recommended by David Gardner to Stock Advisor newsletter subscribers. How is the backlog of new orders going at Embraer? Only Friday knows.

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 in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.