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CNBC's Schacknow: Big Players; S&P 500's Turn To Cheer

Toying With The News
It’s interesting how often themes develop when we look at the day’s collection of stories crossing the wires.

Using a rule invented strictly by me for my own amusement, I’ve determined that a “theme” is official when we get three stories that can be grouped in the same general category. Today’s theme: toys and games.

Our theme set began with the news that the creator of the Sony Playstation, Ken Kutaragi, had resigned as CEO of the company’s Computer Entertainment unit. This comes as the latest version of the video game console, the Playstation 3, has been outsold by its rivals, the Nintendo Wii and the Microsoft Xbox 360. Adding insult to injury, it’s also been outsold by the console it was designed to replace, the Playstation 2.

Then came news of the latest incarnation of the timeless Barbie doll from Mattel -- the creation of an online community known as “Barbie Girls.”

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And our theme was made official by the third story: news that GPS maker TomTom had won a favorable court ruling in a patent case brought by rival Garmin. OK, GPS devices aren’t toys in the strictest sense, but I’d bet you’ve heard them referred to that way -- especially by spouses wondering why their mates spent so much money on one, when you could simply roll down your window and ask for directions.

Conclusion: there’s a whole lot of money to be made on non-essential but fun items in today’s economy.

Round Numbers, Dead Ahead
A notable round number lies ahead for the stock market: 1,500 for the S&P 500. The benchmark index hasn’t finished over 1,500 since Sept. 7, 2000 -- over 7 and a half years ago. It’s another reminder, as I noted last week, that the market isn’t just the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Many investment pros consider the S&P 500 a much more representative cross-section of the economy than the other indexes, since it cuts across a broad variety of industries.

On the other hand, it doesn’t matter what indexes you think are good, bad, or indifferent if YOUR stocks go up. That’s why the “MyStock” index is the best one of all!