Metals, medals, and pedals will play bit parts in the week of news that is waiting to happen.

Aluminum market leader Alcoa (NYSE:AA) won't be scaring away investors with a dud of a quarterly report to kick off the new trading week. It already did that last month. Now Alcoa warns that falling aluminum prices will lead to a third-quarter report of earnings per share between $0.27 and $0.31. That's nearly half of what the bottom-line target was three months ago.

The news is highly likely to be a few shades brighter a day later, when Apple Computer (NASDAQ:AAPL) takes the stage. The company will wrap up fiscal 2005 with a fourth-quarter report that should show even more digital-music players and computers having been sold. Yes, the company is selling more iPods than computer systems these days, but the company's strength in digital music has helped fortify the brand on the computing side. The stock recently hit new all-time highs, and it's well-earned in this case.

Shareholders hoping for hog heaven will be tuning in midweek for Harley Davidson's (NYSE:HDI) quarterly numbers. The company posted a healthy boost in profits the last time out, despite managing a rather ordinary 6% gain in worldwide sales. That was the result of operating improvement but also an ambitious share buyback program. What remains to be seen is whether the automakers' desperate "employee pricing promotions" dissuaded big-ticket purchases away from Harley Davidson. We'll know that much -- and more -- soon.

Things have been pretty bleak for Tribune (NYSE:TRB) lately, and it has nothing to do with the company's Chicago Cubs falling short again (as their crosstown rivals White Sox are looking good in the playoffs). The problem is that the company's bread-and-butter publishing business has been suffering lately. Too many people are getting their news online, and the advertisers are following them there. Tribune does have a few things going on in cyberspace, but it's being hurt in its prime position as the publisher of 11 leading daily newspapers. Is the print media too slow? Just consider that the company reports on Thursday, but you won't be reading about it in its papers until Friday morning.

Fridays have been quiet on the earnings front in recent weeks. That won't be the case when General Electric (NYSE:GE) emerges with its third-quarter report. The huge conglomerate, complete with a $356 billion market cap that makes it the nation's second most valuable company, is a major player in everything from appliances to aerospace to financing to broadcasting. The company's growth hasn't all been organic; it has been a serial acquirer of companies. Most recently it announced a $1.2 billion cash deal to swallow IDX (NASDAQ:IDXC).

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 doesn't believe that GE has ever made an offer to buy him outright, but his phone is always on the ready. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. T he 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.