The Week Ahead: A Waiting Game

Over the past several weeks, the overall stock market has resembled a roller coaster -- down and up; down and up; and then a quick drop. That's the case no matter which major market index we look at. The only real difference among the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite has been the degree of the drop. While the first two indices have fallen roughly 7% over the past month, the Nasdaq has dropped a more pronounced 8.1% in the past four weeks, and nearly 10.4% since Sept. 14. Weighing on the Nasdaq like a rock has been Apple (AAPL), which has fallen 18% in the last month alone. 

With the presidential election behind us, the primary driver behind the drop in the stock market has been the uncertainty associated with the looming "fiscal cliff." While the politicians in Washington will look to hammer out a deal to avert the cliff, uncertainty remains over when that deal may be reached, as well as over what it entails -- and this will have companies and consumers hoping for the best, but planning for the worst. To me it means that, as we inch closer to the year's end without a deal, companies will likely take several preemptive actions: They'll revisit forecasts, slow if not halve capital spending projects, freeze hiring and at least prepare for reductions in head count....700 more words left in this article. To read them, just click below and try Real Money FREE for 14 days.

Read the full story and get access to the Real Money Pro trading floor.

There’s no substitute for a trading floor to get great ideas, so Jim Cramer created a better one at Real Money and blogs there exclusively. We then added legendary hedge fund manager, Doug Kass, with his exclusive Daily Diary and best investing ideas. Staffed with more than 4 dozen investing pros, money managers, journalists and analysts, Real Money Pro gives you a flood of opinions, analysis and actionable trading advice found nowhere else, and allows you to interact directly with each expert.

Already a Subscriber? Please login.

Except as otherwise indicated, quotes are delayed. Quotes delayed at least 20 minutes for all exchanges. Market Data provided by Interactive Data. Company fundamental data provided by Morningstar. Earnings and ratings provided by Zacks. Mutual fund data provided by Valueline. ETF data provided by Lipper. Powered and implemented by Interactive Data Managed Solutions.

TheStreet Ratings updates stock ratings daily. However, if no rating change occurs, the data on this page does not update. The data does update after 90 days if no rating change occurs within that time period.

IDC calculates the Market Cap for the basic symbol to include common shares only. Year-to-date mutual fund returns are calculated on a monthly basis by Value Line and posted mid-month.