There’s a light trading load on Wall Street this week, with trader’s thoughts turning to visions of sugarplum martinis dancing in their heads.

Anything to help forget 2008, right? Although 2009 looks like it won’t be any better. This, from Subir Gokarn, chief economist at Standard & Poor’s, Asia Pacific. “The U.S. won’t recover from a recession until 2010,” he says. Gokarn says it won’t be like the last few recessions, when the U.S. could climb out of a financial hole by itself. This time, he says, China and India will help lead the way.

Other than tomorrow’s Q3 GDP confirmation number, there is not much going on in the economy. In the tech sector, though, it’s becoming apparent that there is at least one winner in the holiday retail season – Apple. The Financial Times reports this morning that Apple iPods, traditionally accounting for up to 50% of Apple’s fourth-quarter revenues, are reportedly enjoying strong sales figures this month. Analysts at the Consumer Electronics Association say that the iPod, going away, is the most popular consumer choice this holiday season.

Amazon is also reporting that there are six iPods in its top 20 lists of bestseller list for consumer gift ideas this year, including the $230, 8GB iPod that is drawing crowds of budget-conscious buyers who still value quality. Says Michael Gartenberg, vice-president of Mobile Strategy at Jupitermedia. “In a down economy, people can be willing to spend more on a premium product because they don’t want to make the mistake of buying something that doesn’t meet their expectations or provide long-term value”.

The iTouch has already generated over 300 million downloads from the Apple Store web site – thus giving analysts proof that a product that can handle music, video, gaming, and even run some computer applications, thanks to the over 10,000 application downloads available for the iTouch, is a winner. Another plus for parents – the iTouch offers all that without the $70-per-month fee of the iPhone.

Elsewhere this holiday season, a lot of tech workers will be taking it easy – whether they like it or not. Again, from the Financial Times today, the paper’s Silicon Valley bureau reports that forced vacations are an emerging budget management weapon for technology company bean counters.

Says the Times; “Workers at some of Silicon Valley’s biggest companies will find themselves spending an uncommonly long time with their families this Christmas as the technology industry responds to the downturn with office and factory closures and enforced holidays. Usually limited to traditional manufacturing industries such as the ailing carmakers, the year-end shut-down is this year sweeping through the office suites and research and development labs of information-age companies.” Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Cisco Systems, and even Google are among the firms insisting on mandatory time off.

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