It's been awfully quiet on the earnings front in recent weeks, and that's by design. This is the time of year when accountants are nailing down the financials for the fiscal quarters that ended in September.
The silence won't last long. Later this week, the conference calls will begin trickling in, and then it will be a deluge of quarterly reports until early November.
If you're eying a calendar, let's go over a few of the dates worth circling.
Google (GOOG) reports on Thursday afternoon. Big G's global leadership in search and online advertising make it a meaty bellwether for the state of websites everywhere. Google sets the growth bar that smaller dot-coms are measured against.
JPMorgan Chase (JPM) also checks in with its latest quarterly financials on Thursday. These have been challenging times for JPMorgan's businesses, as investment banking and credit card issuing have dried up and banking in general is under the regulatory microscope.
Conveniently scheduled just days after the iPhone 4S debut, Apple (AAPL) reports next week. The country's most valuable tech company will naturally be in the spotlight as this will be its first quarterly report since Steve Jobs' death.
Analysts will want an early read on the iPhone 4S, and Apple is usually pretty good about offering up early performance metrics on important rollouts.
Intel (INTC), Coca-Cola (KO), Yahoo! (YHOO), and Bank of America (BAC) also step up next week.
Intel is the world's leader in computer processors, and the challenge will be to make headway in tablets and smartphones as desktop and laptop sales languish. Coca-Cola is the global soda giant, but it's also one of the most valuable brands.
Things will be a bit more interesting for Yahoo! and Bank of America. Is Yahoo! really up for sale? If so, the company is unlikely to shed any light on any of the potential bidders. Can Bank of America overcome the negative backlash that's been building since it revealed that it will be charging extra fees to debit-card holders who swipe their plastic for anything other than ATM withdrawals?
Speaking of swiping plastic, American Express (AXP) won't leave home without its latest quarterly report a week from tomorrow.
Things will probably be a bit more interesting at E*TRADE (ETFC) and eBay (EBAY). E*TRADE is the discount broker with the chatty E*TRADE Baby ads.
Sector consolidation has been a major theme among the discounters, and it will be interesting to hear if the broker has any plans to acquire a smaller rival or to be acquired itself. The growth story at eBay in recent years hasn't been its namesake auction website; PayPal has been the real driver at the company, and eBay is in the process of getting real-world retailers to begin accepting PayPal at the register.
Microsoft (MSFT) may have handed the market cap crown in tech to Apple several quarters ago, but Mr. Softy is still the world's largest software company. It's been losing money on Bing, and it's been barely profitable with its popular Xbox business, but Microsoft is still a company that lives by the release of its Windows operating system, Office suite of productivity programs, and server-related software tools.
Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) is also reporting next week. Chipotle opened a new concept -- the Asian inspired ShopHouse -- last month. This should be the burrito roller's first chance to address ShopHouse and reveal if it plans to turn it into a sister chain.
It's also worth keeping an eye on AT&T (T). For the first time in its history it has to share a new iPhone release with rival carriers. Is it still growing its iPhone business, or has the arrival of the country's first and third largest wireless carriers eaten into that once-exclusive stronghold?
Comcast (CMCSA) is the country's largest cable provider. There have been conflicting reports on the "cord cutting" phenomenon over the past year, as couch potatoes cancel costly cable and satellite television services in favor of cheaper streaming solutions. Most of the players in this field claim that it's a myth, though Comcast has shed video customers in a few of its more recent quarters.
Garmin (GRMN), MasterCard (MA), and Whole Foods Market (WFM) also share Comcast's earnings day with their own financials.
Garmin is the GPS giant that's been trying to reposition itself now that smartphones and smarter cars are making its gadgets less necessary in getting around. As a plastic marketer, MasterCard doesn't have to take on the credit risk of its cardholders. It's the issuing banks -- like JPMorgan's Chase division -- that take the good and the bad on that front. Whole Foods Market is the organic grocer that's been posting several quarters in a row of positive comps.
As you can see, the next few weeks are going to get busy.
Longtime Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not owns shares in any of the stocks in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Coca-Cola, Google, MasterCard, JPMorgan Chase, Intel, Whole Foods Market, Microsoft, Yahoo, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Bank of America, and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Whole Foods Market, Google, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Microsoft, Intel, eBay, Yahoo!, Coca-Cola, AT&T, and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a diagonal call position in Intel. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Microsoft and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a written covered strangle position in American Express. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating an iron condor position in Garmin.