The trading week starts \with Mattel (NYSE:MAT) on the earnings stage. The third-quarter conference call is usually a great time to check in on how a company is positioning itself for the telltale holiday selling season. Not this time. After a series of brand-slapping recalls, Mattel is likely to be asked more about its overseas outsourcing and toy-buyer apprehension trends than how the new line of Barbie MP3 players that hook up with its promising online community is moving.

If it's Tuesday, it must be Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) discussing its third-quarter results. Analysts expect the pharmaceuticals and consumer products giant to earn $0.99 a share for the quarter, essentially flat with the $0.98 a share it earned a year earlier. Holding its own is better than what can be said for some of its fellow drugmakers. No more tears? There won't be any more tears if the company tops expectations the way it has in each of the six previous quarters.

The midweek spotlight shines on eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY), when the world's leading online marketplace will have more watchers than bidders on a valuable Webkinz doll. It's not just because eBay is a dot-com bellwether. There are a lot of questions that need to be answered. Have things improved after the recent weakness in its two strongest markets -- the United States and Germany? Did it overpay for Skype? Can the company really make buying and selling fun and social? We'll get the answers. 


Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) steps up to discuss its third-quarter financials. The company, reporting two days after Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO), is a better gauge of the paid search market than Yahoo! these days. With the stock barreling past the $600 mark this past week, a healthy report is crucial. Google has trounced Wall Street estimates in 10 of its first 12 quarters as a public company, though one of those rare misses came three months ago. 

If you prefer a healthier market-thumping streak to watch on Thursday, robotic surgical arm specialist Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG) will look to make it 20 consecutive quarters of better-than-expected earnings.

Because we're in the thick of earnings season, even Friday is loaded with important reports. The one I'll be watching is Wipro (NYSE:WIT). With investors starting to wonder if India is the next China in terms of hot,  emerging markets, Wipro is there as a leader in IT and customer support outsourcing. Analysts expect quarterly earnings to climb 18%. Let's see if it lives up to the hype.

Until next week, I remain,

Rick Munarriz

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.