In last week’s Brief we asked the question was it time for technology to shine? The answer so far is a resounding ‘not yet,’ as bellwethers IBM, Motorola, Apple, and Intel all disappointed investors with their fourth quarter results in the last few days. The run-up in technology stock prices in the first weeks of January is proving to be premature. Investors who bid the shares up just weeks ago on the notion that 2007 earnings for tech were going to be well ahead of other sectors’ growth having changed their tune as early reports are less than their high expectations. They are now nervous about commoditization and competitive pressures combined with a slowing economy.

The week was all about oil – again.  Prices rose as Tropical Storm Katrina threatened oil production in theGulf of Mexico.  On Wednesday the price of a barrel of crude rose to $67.32, a new record.  Today as Katrina heads into the Gulf, it trades at $67.55.  Global demand for oil is now so high that any previously inconsequential disruption can threaten the supply of the irreplaceable energy source, at least in the fears of traders.