Tech "Wrecks" And Oil's Slippery Slope

December U.S. retail sales, oil prices and earnings news should help direct the market today. Stocks look mixed after yesterday's big move up on tech buying and a continued slide in oil. The Dow's strong runup yesterday took it to a new high, its first of the New Year.

TECH WRECKS: Advanced Micro Devices last night followed SAP's late afternoon warning with negative surprises for Q4. Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Bear Stearns and Prudential all downgraded AMD this morning. Goldman Sachs and ThinkEquity look pretty smart for raising the flag on it Jan. 3 when both took it to sell.

Thanks to SAP and AMD, tech was a soft spot in European markets today as stocks head lower there. Asian markets were mixed, with Tokyo higher on a weak yen. We'll watch tech carefully today. A trader we like to speak with talks about how tech has been the proxy for the market's move higher. Strength in some tech names since the beginning of the year has breathed life into Nasdaq, which went to a six year high yesterday. Look at Microsoft and Cisco's gains.

APPLE PROBE: Apple Inc is having quite a week. First, its new phone was greeted enthusiastically. Then the name of the phone comes into question when Ciscofiles a lawsuit, claiming it owns the iPhone name. Now the Wall Street Journal reports the Feds are honing in on one stock option grant to Steve Jobs.

GOOD OR BAD? Our Hampton Pearson looks today at whether the drop in oil, and the potential move lower is good or bad for the market. He will also look at the winners and losers. Oil is getting a boost this morning after yesterday's turbulent four percent decline. OPEC is considering whether to hold an emergency meeting, according to the Wall Street Journal.