The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- If something can go wrong, it probably will.
This may not be the healthiest way to approach life, but it has often been my investment approach in what I consider broadly irrational bull markets. Warren Buffett said it another way by suggesting that we "be fearful when others are greedy."
There are a lot of truths in those sayings, both of which imply the importance of protecting oneself.
Over the past several weeks I have remained bearish on the market and discussed stocks that investors should sell leading into what we are seeing now: the pullback or the so called "correction" that we often talk about.
Although the declines are not entirely surprising on some equities, on others, such as Apple
, they have raised some eyebrows to the point where it is time for me to re-evaluate what I once perceived to be true.
There have been a lot of corporate headlines during this earnings season and this past week in particular.
But unfortunately they have not been enough to inspire investor confidence to fight off the bear claw currently attached to the head of the market.
On Friday it was mostly the same, although stocks climbed modestly, thanks to solid earnings from McDonald's (MCD)
, Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG)
and Microsoft (MSFT)
What I have begun to realize is that although corporate results look good and an impressive number of companies are beating estimates, investors are unable to make up their minds about what news should matter the most.
One week it is Europe's prolonged fiscal decay. The next week it is the perceived end of QE3. This past week it seemed that investors showed some concern regarding China's industrial activity.
So schizophrenia still dominates the market, and investors are too quick to shrug off solid corporate earnings because of fear about events that don't often matter to the corporate bottom line.
Leading into next week, here are some stocks that will be driving the market in one direction or another.
: Of course, the first stock that I will be monitoring closely next week is Apple, which has served as an anchor for the stock market.
The company will report second-quarter earnings on Tuesday, and for as much as Apple is loved, there are some investors who will be looking for a slip.
But people looking for weak results may be disappointed, as Apple has already reported selling 3 million of its newest iPad during the first three days of the product's introduction.
Apple shares closed at $572.98 Friday, their lowest level since early March. They're down $71.02, or 11%, from their high of $644.
It hasn't helped that Qualcomm (QCOM)
, one of Apple's biggest suppliers, recently revealed some supply chain challenges that may impact the company's productivity.
Be that as it may, the stock has seen several new analyst upgrades. Goldman Sachs raised its price target to $750, while Piper Jaffray says the stock is heading to $1,000.
It will be hard for Apple to top the results of its previous quarter, which included the all-important holiday season. But then again, this is Apple, where the only thing that makes sense is to expect the unexpected.