Insurance accidents, stolen bases, and a flurry of notable quarterly reports filled the shoes of the week we left behind.

MarshMac heart attack
When New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has you in the crosshairs, keep the white surrender flags at the ready. Fresh from spanking the mutual fund industry until it cleaned up its ways and called Spitzer daddy, Marsh & McLennan (NYSE:MMC) and the insurance industry is where Spitzer is spitting fire these days. After allegations that the insurance broker was faking bids in order to funnel its clients toward higher insurance premiums -- enough to account for a third of the company's profits -- it's hard to imagine Marsh & McLennan getting over this. Who is willing to see Typhoid Mary to get a flu shot? But retaining and attracting customers won't be the only problem facing the company as the lawsuits start piling on.

Marsh & McLennan also has its consulting business and its Putnam family of mutual funds, yet those areas were also rocked by scandal. The insurance industry looks like it's about to get a massive makeover courtesy of Spitzer's watchdog ways. For consumers, that is probably a good thing. For investors, it may require wearing hardhats.

Kicking the curse, Boston-style
Watching the most improbable comeback in sports history, with the Boston Red Sox taking four straight games from the New York Yankees in advancing to the World Series, was impressive. Yet maybe Kevin Brown's spotty outing in the final game of the series was due to the XM Satellite Radio (NASDAQ:XMSR) logo superimposed behind the batter's box for the gargantuan home viewing audience early in the contest. Ultimately it was a case of great timing for the satellite radio upstart to have announced a $650 million deal for the exclusive satellite radio baseball broadcasting rights for the next 11 seasons during an American League pennant series for the ages.

Yet those who wondered what this would mean to rival Sirius Satellite Radio (NASDAQ:SIRI) after Sirius had struck an exclusive deal with the NFL last year and recently landed Howard Stern come 2006 are missing the point. Together, XM and Sirius are educating the market about the merits of digital radio and they aren't competing against one another. They are competing against free radio. With both companies set to combine in adding nearly a million new subscribers this quarter, the migration will help both companies while tripping up free radio. To put this in Red Sox terms, satellite radio is serving up another tricky Wakefield knuckleball at free radio. The chances are good that it will swing and miss.

eBay investors say "Buy it now"
Swinging for the fences and rarely missing, eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) delivered another stellar quarter this week. Producing just over $200 million in free cash flow as revenues surged 52% higher, the leading online auction site continues to grow quickly despite its massive size. A good chunk of eBay's recent forward leaps is coming from its heady global expansion. Its overseas business grew by 82% (compared to a more modest 29% domestic uptick). With the company looking to earn as much as $1.42 a share next year on at least $4 billion in revenue, maybe the site's "Buy it Now" is more than just a passive suggestion -- to potential investors, that is.

Busy on Thursday?
It was definitely a hectic week, with earnings reports coming in at breakneck speed, and that was clearly evident on Thursday. In a span of minutes, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) announced their quarterly financials.

Digging deep into each report would probably have you fumbling for a bottle of Visine by Monday morning, so let's see if we can cover these major events in just one sentence apiece.

  • Amazon shocked the market when taking the high end of the leading online retailer's guidance for 2004 and connecting it with the low end of its surprisingly drab outlook for next year suggested that net sales next year may grow by just 7% (granted, it was 22% the other way around).
  • Google kicked off its first quarter as a public company in grand fashion, with revenue and earnings more than doubling.
  • Unlike its fizzy pop, Coke's third-quarter revenues and earnings (before a series of one-time charges) came in flat.
  • While Microsoft's stock has been in a deep slumber, the world's largest software company continues to grow as quarterly profits and sales inched 11% and 12% higher, respectively.

See you next week!

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz isn't much of a Red Sox or Yankees fan but was still mesmerized by the amazing series. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story.