By Kevin Grewal, Contributing Analyst at www.smartstops.netToday kicks off the second-quarter earnings season, and many investors are anxious to see how well their favorite stocks performed. Optimistic investors hope that the worst of the economic downfall is over and that the bottom lines will reflect this notion. The International Monetary Fund has provided Wall Street some positive news on the health of the global economy in 2010 with an estimated global economic growth rate of 2.5%. Many hope the news will be reflected in corporate profits. Additionally, the Institute for Supply Management, said U.S. manufacturing activity in the second quarter has slowly been improving, with its index at 44.8 in June. That was higher than experts had anticipated. Lastly, some hope other economic indicators, such as the continuing rise in pending home sales and the ease of inflationary worries, can be catalysts. On the negative side, investors are still wary of what is to come from corporate America. Jobless rates continue to increase with unemployment at a 26-year high; consumer confidence is trying to claw its way up from the bottom of the barrel; and discretionary spending continues to decline while savings rates rise. On top of this, the U.S. dollar remains weak, influencing foreign currency exchange costs, and commodities prices are declining, indicating that global demand is not as high as once thought. In a nutshell, only time will tell us just how well our favorite corporations have performed. Here are a few stocks that are expected to release earnings this week.