Drugs and developers will color in the week that lies ahead.

The trading week begins with Pitney Bowes (NYSE: PBI) mailing it in. The metered mail company is expected to post flattish results for its latest quarter. This is one to watch, because Pitney Bowes is a decent proxy for corporate spending in general.

(NYSE: PFE) and Merck (NYSE: MRK) step up. Like Pitney Bowes, the pharmaceuticals giants are targeted to post quarterly profits in line with what they earned a year earlier. These are strange times for drug stocks. They are packing chunky yields, and investors are concerned about pipelines as their older blockbusters go off patent.

(NYSE: PHM) dons the hard hat. Most homebuilders have come through in recent weeks, delivering substantially narrower losses than they did a year ago. Pulte should be no different. A complete turnaround for the housing industry won't come until we get through the glut of existing homes on the market, but at least smaller deficits will make the wait more bearable.

(Nasdaq: DTV) and Crocs (Nasdaq: CROX) are two of the companies reporting. DirecTV is the country's largest satellite television provider. Crocs is the company with those arguably ugly resin shoes that were so popular a couple of years ago. Investors who have dismissed Crocs as a passing craze may want to know that analysts think that it will bounce back to profitability this quarter.

Washington Post Co.
(NYSE: WPO) rounds out the trading week. Don't let the old-media veneer fool you. Washington Post also watches over other media properties and the Kaplan educational services juggernaut. It's pegged to post a healthy profit.

Until next week, I remain,

Rick Munarriz

Pfizer is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. 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 does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.