Chocolate, cheeseburgers, and Champion Funds will color in the week that lies ahead.

Is Ford (NYSE:F) tough enough? Despite all the bad news we've been hearing about American automakers, Ford actually grew its car sales in 2005 for its first annual uptick since 1999. Will that translate into a profitable showing? We'll know early in the new trading week as Ford pulls up on Monday.

McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) will be serving up McEarnings for its fourth quarter come Tuesday. The world's largest restaurant chain may appear to be bouncing back, now with three years of rising comps under its belt, but the financials have been disappointing lately. Earnings and operating profits dipped through the first three quarters of 2005, and analysts expect only a marginal growth spurt in the final period. Wall Street is looking for Tuesday's quarterly earnings to come in at $0.47 a share, two cents better than last year's showing. However, at this time last year, analysts were expecting profits of $0.46 per share, and the company missed by a single penny. Let's hope it doesn't squander that change. After all, a hundred of those little cents can still get you something off the chain's dollar menu.

From misses to Kisses: Hershey (NYSE:HSY) hopes to sweeten the earnings season with its midweek quarterly report. The chocolate giant, which owns 46% of the stateside market and is growing overseas, posted a 9% top-line spurt in the previous quarter. Margins expanded -- I'm sure many waistlines did, too -- as operating profits grew even faster than Hershey's revenue growth did.

That brings us to Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT). The world's largest software company and active Inside Value stock recommendation will have lots to talk about. How are those Xbox 360 sales going? How is the next installment of Windows coming along? Is its paid-search platform getting any closer to coming out of beta? Steve Ballmer should have some pretty interesting answers -- let's hope he doesn't break out into a cold sweat.

While mutual funds were getting a bad rap a couple of years ago, when money managers at companies like Janus (NYSE:JNS) were called out for inappropriate trading, T. Rowe Price (NASDAQ:TROW) never got its hands dirty during the scandalous ordeal. Perhaps that's why the company has been thriving in landing more assets now that investors are enamored with the market again. The company closes out the trading week with its quarterly report, and it should be another good one. T. Rowe Price is a quality player. In fact, four of the funds that Shannon Zimmerman has recommended to Champion Funds subscribers just happen to be T. Rowe Price mutual funds. Maybe even mutual fund investors may want to venture out and pluck some shares of T. Rowe Price if Friday's report proves true.

Until next week, I remain,

Rick Munarriz

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. 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.