Will Mattel's (NYSE:MAT) Tickle Me Elmo TMX be in plentiful supply through the end of the holiday shopping season? Will it fall to the similar fate of hot playthings that are too scarce to have a financial impact on their parent companies? We'll hear Mattel's side of the story when the Inside Value newsletter recommendation announces its third-quarter results on Monday morning. Given the seasonal nature of toy purchases, Mattel makes the bulk of its profit in the second half of the year, so tune in for an important report -- and maybe even a tip or two on how to laugh all the way to the bank like Elmo.

If it's Tuesday, it must be Yahoo!'s (NASDAQ:YHOO) turn at the podium. The Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection continues to slip into a more distant second-place finish in the search-engine race. The company recently hit a new 52-week low. A good way out of that rut would be to surprise disappointed investors who already expect the company's third-quarter report on Tuesday to show that earnings per share shrank to $0.11 from a $0.16 showing a year earlier.

After beating Wall Street estimates for 14 consecutive quarters, Apple Computer (NASDAQ:AAPL) looks to make it 15 on Wednesday with its fourth-quarter report. With new Macs and iPods on the market in time for the holiday push, investors will be checking to see whether the company can keep that healthy momentum going.

Just as we've seen over the past few quarters, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) steps up two days after Yahoo! waxes on its financials. It hasn't been even close in the past, with Google usually coasting past its targets while Yahoo! struggles. Either way, Google remains the faster-growing company of the two. Analysts see profits soaring 60% higher for the quarter to hit $2.42 a share.

You know that we're knee-deep into earnings season when even a sleepy Friday is loaded with big names reporting. This time, we can turn to major drugmakers Schering-Plough (NYSE:SGP) and Merck (NYSE:MRK) to wrap up the week with their quarterly perspectives. Is the health-care sector bouncing back after a rare stumble from some of the big pharma players a couple of years ago? It's checkup time!

Until next week, I remain,

Rick Munarriz

Yahoo! is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Mattel counts among the current picks in Motley Fool Inside Value. Merck is a former Inside Value pick. All of our newsletter services come with a 30-day free trial.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz recommends 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 own not own shares in any of the companies in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy.