This Is the Reason the S&P 500 Slumped


I think my Foolish colleague Dan Carroll hit the nail on the head when he stated that, "Today's good news is no news."

Factory output data for November showed a 1.1% rise, as production in the wake of Superstorm Sandy rebounded, pushing total output to an eight-month high. The U.S. Consumer Price Index, a measure of inflation, also fell 0.3% in November, as cheaper prices at the pump helped keep a few more dollars in consumers' pockets.

Yet, the market largely ignored this data and, instead, chose to focus on the fiscal cliff, which sits just a tad over two weeks away. For the day, the S&P 500 finished lower by 5.87 points (-0.41%), to end at 1,413.58.

The big news story of the day was Apple which demonstrated to investors that if the tech giant falls in a forest, its shockwave could shake the leaves off all of the trees, whether or not anyone is around to witness it!

Apple shares took a beating after the company's lackluster iPhone 5 debut in China, and iPhone sales estimates cuts from two Wall Street analysts. Specifically, analyst Peter Misek at Jefferies notes that Apple has already begun to pare orders to suppliers in order to balance out its inventory, which could result in lower shipments. Apple shares only dipped 3.8% on the day, but its mobile device suppliers, like Jabil Circuit which makes the aluminum casing for the new iPhone 5, were creamed to the tune of 5.5%.

Luckily for Apple, it wasn't the only downside headliner, as Best Buy reversed course, down 14.7%, after gaining a similar percentage yesterday. Although a potential buyout of the big-box retailer by its founder, Richard Schulze, in the neighborhood of $5 billion-$6 billion still remains a very viable possibility, the fact that Best Buy's board and Schulze had to amend and extend their cooperation agreement until Feb. 28th could signal that Schulze is having trouble arranging the financing to take the company private. My personal opinion is that we're going to see a deal get done one way or another.

If you're looking for a silver lining in the clouds, that would be software maker Adobe Systems , which rose 5.7%, after reporting its fourth-quarter earnings results. Admittedly, this was a very confusing report, as it handily beat Wall Street's fourth-quarter expectations, but issued EPS and sales guidance that wasn't even close to the Street's first-quarter forecast ($0.29 and $975 million versus $0.56 and $1.07 billion). What's pushing the stock higher is its 132,000 new Creative Cloud software subscriptions. Although its move into the cloud could challenge revenue in the near term, Adobe looks poised to capture its piece of the cloud-computing pie.

Let the good times roll?

There's no doubt that Apple is at the center of technology's largest revolution ever, and that longtime shareholders have been handsomely rewarded, with over 1,000% gains. However, there is a debate raging as to whether Apple remains a buy. The Motley Fool's senior technology analyst and managing bureau chief, Eric Bleeker, is prepared to fill you in on both reasons to buy and reasons to sell Apple, and what opportunities are left for the company (and more importantly, your portfolio) going forward. To get instant access to his latest thinking on Apple, simply click here now.

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Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple and Adobe Systems, as well as creating a bull call spread position in Apple, and a diagonal call position in Adobe Systems. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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