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

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