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Is Apple Disappointing? Shorts Seem Nervous

Friday, 26 Oct 2012 | 9:47 AM ET

Strange: Apple trading flat to slightly up pre-open, while S&P 500 futures were down. Huh? What happened to Apple as a markets leader? Futures got a pop at 8:30 a.m. ET as third-quarter advance gross domestic product came in at 2 percent, above expectations of a gain of 1.8 percent.

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My take: The shorts are nervous. Despite the risk-off atmosphere in Europe overnight, Apple AND Amazon were both mostly higher — and the damage in futures is limited.

The biggest risk to stocks this week: The significant number of companies missing on revenues. Of nine large companies I followed that have reported since the close last night, five are light on earnings, five are light on revenues. There has been talk all week among some money managers about reducing exposures to stocks, at least for the short term. Barry Ritholtz, for example, is reducing exposure, not out of worries about the "fiscal cliff," but out of worries about he calls the "earnings cliff."

Elsewhere:

1) Risk-off early on in Europe, but that might not have a lasting impact on our markets. Spanish unemployment hit a record 25 percent in the third quarter. After returning from a recent visit to Spain, I pointed out that most Spaniards do not appear to be taking this 25 percent unemployment level too seriously, since large numbers of people work in the black market and are paid under the table. "If one in four people really had no job at all, there would be a revolution in the streets, not just a few thousand people marching," my landlord in Barcelona said to me.

2) Goodyear Tire notably light on top and bottom line? Goodyear is a good company to watch: It makes a single product, but it sells it across the world. And most people need what it makes: tires. The problem was a simple one: volumes were weak, everywhere. Shipments were down 12 percent year-over-year, worse than most expectations. Half the revenues are in the U.S.; but here sales were well below expectations, as were sales in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and Asia-Pacific.

Goodyear does not give earnings guidance, but it did expect volumes in the fourth quarter to decline three percent to five percent, worse than most are expecting.

3) Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson should have the best of all worlds: Massive investment in new high speed mobile systems in the U.S. by AT&T and Verizon Communications, coupled with the difficulty of Chinese competitors to enter the U.S. market due to concerns over U.S. security. And it is doing well: Sales in the U.S. are up, but Europe and China are weak, down 21 percent and 24 percent

4) IPO: WhiteWave Foods (symbol "WWAV") priced 23 million shares at $17 a share, well above the $14 to $16 a share range. A spinoff from Dean Foods, it's part of a euphoric segment of the food industry: vaguely health-oriented. It sells plant-based food and beverages, including non-dairy beverages such as Silk.

—By CNBC's Bob Pisani; Follow Him on Twitter @BobPisani

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  • A CNBC reporter since 1990, Bob Pisani covers Wall Street from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

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