If it's the last trading day of the year, you're going to see a lot of window dressing. The arguably shady "window dressing" practice finds fund managers buying the year's biggest winners and divesting their portfolio of its biggest losers. Why? Well, so when the fund mails out its year-end report card, investors see warm and fuzzy names. It's a flimsy facade, of course. We live in a day and age where anyone can access Morningstar (NASDAQ:MORN) or open up a newspaper to see how any fund compares relative to its rivals.

The market is closed for New Year's Day. Take the morning to make your 2008 resolutions, and pray that you're not breaking them later that night.

The first trading day of the year is typically quiet on the news front. Companies are just settling back into the swing of things after the midweek holiday and don't want to be the first ones to chime in with their earnings reports while no one is paying attention.

Finally, the companies awaken. Agricultural-chemicals giant Monsanto (NYSE:MON) and burger-flipping specialist Sonic (NASDAQ:SONC) report on Thursday. Given the post-holiday timing, many investors will also be piqued by the latest quarterly reports out of Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ:BBBY) and Finish Line (NASDAQ:FINL). Of the four companies, all but Finish Line are expected to post profit gains for the period.

Poor Finish Line. The purveyor of athletic footwear and apparel has been pulling up lame in recent quarters. Analysts expect an even wider quarterly loss out of the retailer on Thursday, but the real story here will be the company's outlook for the current holiday quarter. If it comes up short, will it have to run some laps?  

The abridged trading week closes with another slow day on the earnings front. Texas Industries (NYSE:TXI) and Piedmont Natural Gas (NYSE:PNY) lead the way. Texas Industries is projected to post a healthy 42% advance in its fiscal second-quarter earnings. That's not too shabby for a company that earns its living in slow-drying cement.  

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 Motley Fool owns shares of Bed Bath & Beyond. The Fool has a disclosure policy.