The new trading week awakens with a bolt of caffeinated bliss from Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX). The barista-brokered giant has struggled lately with sluggish comps, falling earnings, and scaled-back expansion plans. Monday is unlikely to be any better. Analysts see Starbucks earning $0.13 a share for its latest quarter, well below the $0.21 a share it rang up a year ago.

If it's Tuesday it must be Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT). The world's leading software company is bound to be asked about its latest cloud-computing venture, its aggressive share buyback plan, and thoughts on making a renewed push to acquire a frustrated Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO). Analysts also see meager earnings growth, and someone is bound to ask if the company can keep growing its bottom line if the economy's slump continues.

We're still weeks from the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, but the department store chain will still be parading about its financials. Macy's (NYSE:M) is expected to post a small loss for the quarter, but that's OK. The real story here is how Macy's sees the holiday season shaping up.

If you're still hungry for retail glimpses, several chains check in on Thursday, including revenue leader Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) and ritzy retailer Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN). Piece them all together and you will have a reasonable snapshot of shopping trends heading into the telltale holidays.

It may be the end of the week, but we start at the beginning of the ticker symbol alphabet with Agilent Technologies (NYSE:A). Wall Street is looking for the company's fiscal fourth-quarter earnings to climb 26% to $0.58 a share. If that sounds ambitious, join the club. Analysts have overestimated Agilent's quarterly profits in each of the past eight periods.

Until next week, I remain,

Rick Munarriz

Wal-Mart, Starbucks, and Microsoft are Motley Fool Inside Value selections. Starbucks is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. The Fool owns shares of Starbucks. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

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 Fool has a disclosure policy.