The first trading week of December begins with Shanda Interactive (NASDAQ:SNDA) posting its third-quarter results. It's been a mixed bag on the Chinese online gaming companies that have reported already, but because it's the industry pioneer, the market will wait for Shanda to get a clearer snapshot. Analysts see the company's earnings climbing 25% to $0.55 a share for the period.

A few retailers like Sears (NASDAQ:SHLD) and Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS) will check in, so expect trend-spotting analysts to ask how the chains did over the telltale shopping weekend. Yes, Staples is an office supply superstore that is typically a better gauge of corporate spending, but it too had monster deals on Friday to milk some of that traffic.

Another day, another wave of retailers reporting. Aeropostale (NYSE:ARO) and Casey's General Stores (NASDAQ:CASY) are on Wednesday's slate. Investors will come to different conclusions here, as Aeropostale is a good measuring stick for mall shopping while Casey's is a thriftiness gauge. However, Wall Street is looking for both companies to post modest earnings improvement over last year's showing.

(NASDAQ:NOVL) steps up. The networking specialist may not be the bellwether titan it used to be, but Novell has always managed to remain profitable. Analysts see the company posting a quarterly profit of $0.06 a share, in line with last year.

Let's wrap up the trading week with a shot of Jack Daniel's. This is no drinking game. I am suggesting a snapshot -- not just a shot -- of Brown-Forman (NYSE:BF-B), the maker of the famous whiskey. Are distilleries a safe bet in a recessionary market? Let's see if the market raises its glass for a toast on Friday after it finds out.

Until next week, I remain,
Rick Munarriz