Playthings, pills, and plastic will decorate the week that lies ahead.

The new trading week kicks off with a peek inside Santa's bag, as Mattel (NYSE:MAT) delivers its fourth-quarter results. Analysts see the toymaker earning $0.72 a share during the holiday quarter, just shy of the $0.76 a share it scored a year ago. Mattel's not the only toymaker feeling the recessionary pinch. Wall Street thinks Hasbro (NYSE:HAS) will deliver a dip in profitability a week later.

Drugmaker Merck (NYSE:MRK) checks in on Tuesday. With Big Pharma in an acquisitive mood these days, it will be interesting to see whether Merck is angling to be a buyer or a seller.

It will be Akamai's (NASDAQ:AKAM) turn to shine -- or whine -- on Wednesday, with its fourth-quarter numbers. The market leader among content-delivery networks, Akamai stands to benefit as more companies push more content online. However, this is also a cutthroat business, which may explain why analysts expectt the companyo post net income roughly in line with last year's showing.

A triple shot of credit-related companies step up on Thursday. MasterCard (NYSE:MA), Moody's (NYSE:MCO), and (NASDAQ:RATE) offer unique slices of the credit market. MasterCard markets credit cards. Moody's issues credit ratings. Bankrate attracts credit-seeking visitors, looking for the best interest rate deals.

Bankrate and MasterCard are projected to post higher earnings for the quarter. Moody's probably won't be so lucky. Either way, all three companies will combine to give a panoramic -- though ultimately incomplete -- snapshot of the credit space.

Fridays typically belong to foreign companies on the earnings floor, as most stateside players like to duck out early for the weekend. This Friday won't be any different, so take the time to get an early jump on your tax filing, show shoveling, or resolution-breaking.

Until next week, I remain,
Rick Munarriz

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Moody's is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Bankrate and Akamai are Motley Fool Rule Breakers selections. Moody's and Hasbro are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarrizrecommends 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.