Lights, flights, and cola war fights will rule the new trading week.

It was the face that launched a thousand ships, but can Helen of Troy (NASDAQ:HELE) launch a thousand buy orders? The beauty-care products specialist will kick off the new trading week with its fiscal first-quarter report. Back in May, the company offered some disappointing guidance. But even so, long-term investors can't be smarting too badly. The stock has nearly tripled since it was singled out four summers ago as one of my annual "10 Stocks Under $10" selections.

A pop star long before American Idol came around, PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP) will pour out its quarterly report come Tuesday. And it won't be just carbonated fizz for PepsiCo -- the soda giant's Frito-Lay division rules the salty-snacks space.

After coming in ahead of Wall Street's expectations back in April, PepsiCo can get an investor easily excited these days. The company is looking to grow earnings by 11% this year. That may not sound like much, but double-digit-percentage profit growth for a steady producer of PepsiCo's size is actually pretty impressive.

The middle of the week will be anything but dull. Prolific players like Apple Computer (NASDAQ:AAPL), Harley-Davidson (NYSE:HDI), and Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE:AMD) will be producing their latest financials.

Everyone knows the great Apple story. Here was a company that just a few years ago traded for little more than the liquidity on its balance sheet. Then the iPod became the gizmo that everyone wanted, and suddenly, the mainstream exposure helped Apple start selling more computers and laptops. Expectations now run high for the company, and deservedly so. If it stumbles in the near term, relish the opportunity, because Apple is still looking pretty good in the long term.

If you're wondering when shares of Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) will take off, maybe you just missed the earlier flight. If you had invested $1,000 in shares of the low-cost air carrier back in 1984, you would be sitting on roughly $35,000 today.

Maintaining its profitability even as the legacy carriers around it are deep in red ink or bogged down in bankruptcy proceedings, Southwest has soared above the competition. OK, so its shares have been relatively stagnant in recent years. It's been trading in the teens over the past 30 months. But that's fine. In one of the most troubled sectors out there, Southwest is a survivor, and that's saying something.

The end of the week is usually a quiet time on the earnings front. Companies want to get an early start on the weekend. That usually leaves me writing about some obscure company or foreign conglomerate. Not this time. General Electric (NYSE:GE) will be producing its second-quarter report on Friday.

Known for appliances, engines, NBC, and financial services, GE sports a $362 billion market cap, big enough to make it the second-largest company on the market. (The top dog is ExxonMobil, at $379 billion.) So will GE bring good things to life? We'll see. But it will definitely bring a usually boring trading day to life.

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 still misses the taste of Crystal Pepsi. 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.