The abridged holiday trading week kicks off with only a handful of companies -- like egg specialist Cal-Maine Foods (NASDAQ:CALM) and strip club operator Rick's Cabaret (NASDAQ:RICK) -- reporting quarterly results on Monday.

Just one of the two companies is expected to post improved profitability. Can you guess which one? It's not the food stock, my defensive investing friend. Get your mind in the gutter, because the purveyor of adult entertainment is the one heading higher. Wall Street is looking for a 21% improvement on the bottom line to $0.23 a share. Then again, after posting a healthy 8% spike in comps for the month of October, investors shouldn't be surprised.

With the holidays on its mind, Wall Street has few reasons to wait around on Tuesday. Companies that have yet to report will wait until the following week to spill the beans.

2008 comes to a close, and the ending can't come soon enough for battered investors. No one is probably more grateful than Legg Mason's (NYSE:LM) Bill Miller. The fund manager was the industry's rock star after scoring 15 consecutive years of positive results for his growth-peppered value fund. The streak came to a screeching halt after 2005. Barring some unlikely miracle, he is staring at his third straight year of badly underperforming the market.

The market is closed on New Year's Day.

The new trading year kicks off on Friday. 2009 will answer many pressing questions:

  • Does Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ:SIRI) have enough in the tank to make it through three debt refinancing hurdles without filing for bankruptcy reorganization?
  • Is Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) really done with Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO)? January is the time of year when the software giant has traditionally approached the struggling dot-com portal.
  • Can 2009 shake off the demons of 2008? For a few moments at least, it will be refreshing to see year-to-date stock returns that aren't showing double-digit percentage losses.

Until next week, I remain,

Rick Munarriz

Microsoft and Legg Mason are Motley Fool Inside Value selections. The Fool owns shares of Legg Mason. 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 own not own shares in any of the companies in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy.