Brian.oco 0 Posting Whiz

Some good news - rare good news - from the U.S. stock market late today as reports and rumors seem to point to a new U.S. government agency to assume and/or manage bad debts for financial services companies.

The new agency, similar to the Resolution Trust Corp of the early 1980's, which was used to minimize the damage done by the savings & loan scandals of the time, would indeed be welcome news to investors and to big banks and lending firms. By accepting the bad debts incurred by financial firms, a new RTC-like agency would open up the credit market and get money flowing again.

That's why the market is up 400 points as of 3 PM today (Thursday).

That, however, is the good news. For tech stocks, it's all downhill from there, with shares of Dell sliding 11%, a seven-year low, on tepid demand for IT products by businesses. The company came out with a statement today reiterating its point that tech spending is weak and that it is now negatively impacting sales.

Dell is hardly alone in airing this sentiment. Forrester Research has come out with new research stating that, for 2009, technology spending estimates have dropped from plus-9.4% to plus-6.1%. The good news there is that Forrester raised its second-half tech spending rate from 3.4% to 5.4%. I suspect that's only because technology companies have to reduce inventories of store-up products to sell to consumers.

So while a decline in tech spending may help cash-strapped consumers buy good computers on the cheap this Christmas, it's not going to help technology companies much. The computers that will clear store shelves this holiday will be inventory-droppers, reduced by 50% or more just to get them off the books. But they won't be much help in boosting bottom-line revenues later this year.

It's been a hell of a week on Wall Street. Just remember that at least half the carnage is due to panic and rumors. Your best remedy is to wait it out and don't do anything rash. Sooner or later, this virus will pass, and stocks - especially tech stocks - will rise again.

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