Tax, slacks, and snacks will leave their marks on the week that lies ahead. Let's take a closer look.

If the game's afoot, what do you call it when 2 billion feet may join in a country's online gaming revolution? For Shanda Interactive (NASDAQ:SNDA), plenty is at stake; China's leading gaming company has posted some amazing growth numbers in the past. Last year, profits and revenues roughly doubled on the popularity of the company's multiplayer games. The stock was singled out in our Rule Breakers newsletter service as an ultimate growth stock. However, selling at 34 times last year's earnings and less than 20 times next year's profit targets, the stock also appears to offer a fair deal of value, given its heady growth rate.

The company will kick off the week with its first-quarter report on Monday night. Considering that analysts are looking for the company to earn $0.33 per depositary share, with fat profit margins to match, Shanda is a market story worth getting excited about.

Carly Fiorina's gone, but will her ghost linger on? Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) will comment on its first quarter without Fiorina, who was ousted from the prolific printing and computing specialist. While we won't be able to hold new CEO Mark Hurd accountable for the report -- his tenure at the company began the day after the March quarter closed -- it will give investors a taste of what's to come as the new chieftain looks to turn the company around following its ill-fated merger with Compaq.

Will Intuit (NASDAQ:INTU) get into it? Wednesday afternoon will definitely be the company's time to shine; the software company behind the popular TurboTax filing program will report on its seasonally potent April quarter. While the number of tax filers in this country was practically unchanged in 2005 -- up a scant 1% -- Intuit has been able to grow more quickly, thanks to more users opting to file their own taxes through user-friendly programs like TurboTax and TaxCut.

Intuit is also proficient in small-office accounting, as its QuickBooks software line accounts for more than a quarter of the company's annual sales. However, Wednesday's report will likely be all about the tax season.

In a week filled with dozens of retailers posting their April fiscal-quarter numbers, Gap's (NYSE:GPS) report is among the most anticipated. The company behind Banana Republic, Old Navy, and its namesake chains had an amazing run through the 1980s and 1990s, but in recent years, its popularity has waned. The company started to get its groove back last year, overcoming years of vicious and precipitous same-store sales declines. Sure, the shares would have to more than double to return to their 1999 peak, but the company is trying. It's even rolling out a new concept -- Forth & Towne -- to attract the 35-and-over crowd. Will the company go Forth? Will it paint the Towne red? If so, let's hope none of that red gets into its income statements.

Make room for the real jerky boys. Bridgford Foods (NASDAQ:BRID) makes many of those decadent snacks you find at convenience stores, like rolls, cheese sticks, and, yes, beef jerky. The company may not be as well-known in investing circles as J&J Snack Foods (NASDAQ:JJSF) or Lance (NASDAQ:LNCE); it has a thin float, since the Bridgford family owns a majority 72% stake in the company. But it still serves an intriguing, relatively recession-resistant niche for folks who crave decadent snacks (fat content be darned).

Want to learn more about the companies waiting to report earnings this week? Check out:

Until next week, I remain,

Rick Munarriz

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a fan of J&J's Icee products and only wishes that they came in even more bolder and colorful players than the Slurpee kingpin. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.