Earnings Preview: Mattel to report 3Q results

NEW YORK -- Analysts expect that Mattel Inc.'s third-quarter net income and revenue to rise as shoppers snap up its Monster High and Barbie dolls, among other toys, ahead of the busy holiday season.

The country's largest toy maker reports results before the market opens on Tuesday.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Analysts have said that Mattel's lineup of holiday toys looks stronger than Hasbro's, with continued strength of its Monster High dolls and Barbie dolls. Analysts will be looking for clues on how the current quarter is unfolding. The holidays are crucial for toy makers because they make the bulk of their sales during that season.

One positive this year: retailers have dropped layaway fees and are offering layaways earlier this year. And Toys R Us has introduced a "hot toy" reservation system, which should also encourage toy sales.

"We expect a strong holiday for Mattel and note many of its toys appear on top toy lists," wrote Sterne Agee analyst Margaret Whitfield. "Earlier layaway at leading retailers has led shoppers to start the season early, which is positive for reorders."

WHY IT MATTERS: Toys, unlike food and shelter, are not necessities, so how well they are selling indicates how confident consumers feel about the state of the economy and their finances.

WHAT'S EXPECTED: Analysts expect earnings of 99 cents per share on revenue of $2.07 billion.

LAST YEAR'S QUARTER: The El Segundo, Calif.-based company earned 86 cents per share on revenue of $2 billion.