The new trading week kicks off with entertainment retailer Hastings (NASDAQ:HAST) reporting. Even though it's a relatively small chain, I love to follow the company's reports, because they're always a great indicator of how several industry segments are ding. Hastings does a little bit of everything, you see, from renting DVDs to selling CDs and video games. Wall Street is looking for earnings to more than double to $0.05 per share during the quarter.

If it's Tuesday, it must be Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS). The office-supply chain -- which is no doubt doing brisk business right about now, as teachers and students get ready for another school year -- offers up its fiscal second-quarter report on Tuesday. Analysts see the company earning $0.25 a share, slightly ahead of the $0.22-per-share profit it generated a year earlier. Nailing it may seem as easy as hitting the company's iconic "Easy" button. Staples has met or exceeded expectations in each of the past six quarters.

(NASDAQ:INTU) gets into it on Wednesday. The company that recently launched the 2008 edition of Quicken is expected to post a small loss during the period. Don't panic, though. This is what typically happens with Intuit, a company that thrives during the January- and April-ending quarters, when its corporate-accounting and tax-preparation programs are in high demand.

We fall back into the gap on Thursday, and by that, I mean the fiscal second-quarter report out of apparel-retailing bellwether Gap (NYSE:GPS). Investors will surely tune in for the numbers, though the big draw here will be getting to know the company's new CEO a little better.

Condiment lovers will want to stick around for Friday's report out of H.J. Heinz (NYSE:HNZ). The ketchup king is expected to earn $0.55 a share in its latest quarter, just off the $0.58 per share it earned a year earlier. Headline writers are surely hoping that the company will earn $0.57 a share, the way it did during the third quarter of 2004. Nothing like a little dry ketchup humor.

Until next week, I remain,

Rick Munarriz

Gap has been recommended in both Stock Advisor and Inside Value. Heinz is a yield-happy pick in the Income Investor newsletter service. If you want to be prepared for the future, dig into the past picks of any of these services with a free 30-day trial subscription offer. You'll also see the freshest recommendations.

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 own not own shares in any of the companies in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy.