Behind the Money

BEHIND THE MONEY: 2008 is Effectively Over; Apple's 'One Scare Too Many'

With the Fed's historic policy announcement yesterday and Morgan Stanley earnings today, the impact moments for the stock market in 2008 are over. The economic and earnings calendar between now and the end of the year is quite bare.

Now the question is, are the technical forces powerful enough to keep the S&P 500 on its current uptrend toward 1,000 or is a market with no earnings and government actions destined to drift sideways or lower. Today's action points to the latter.

To be sure, the weekly jobless claims report Thursday could move the market if it is particularly bad and we still need a resolution on the GM loan. Also, we could get a major company to release an early outlook for 2009, but many of them have already done so.

We discussed this dilemma on the morning conference call in preparation for tonight's Fast Money. Pete Najarian, co-founder and FM trader, is now turning his sights toward the Jan. 20 inauguration of Barack Obama and figuring out how to position himself for the stimulus likely to come about from the new president. More on that on tonight's show.

SIDE NOTE:Apple down 7 percent and counting today related to the company announcement that CEO Steve Jobs will not make the keynote address during the annual Macworld Expo (not affiliated officially with Apple). We highlighted this announcement last night on the show and CNBC’s Silicon Valley Bureau Chief Jim Goldman called in on the Fast Line to tell us that his sources suggest this is not related to Jobs’ health. The stock recovered in the after market, but this morning it has resumed a steady decline. It seems investors just want some straight talk from Apple about succession.

"We don't know why Steve Jobs has pulled out of his annual address at Macworld," writes Oppenheimer analyst Yair Reiner, in a report titled ‘One Scare Too Many’.  "Maybe he's not feeling well, or maybe he just has nothing new to say," writes Reiner, who downgraded the stock. "Whatever the reason, the unexpected announcement has underscored the greatest risk to Apple's long-term success - its dependence on Jobs' health and its apparent lack of a succession plan."

What's more, maybe investors fear that the cancellation by Jobs means that no new, spectacular Apple products are on the horizon for him to discuss.

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