Friday's market action brought back memories. It felt like 1994 all over again, with the

Dow

tickling and teasing as it tried to muster enough strength to reach 10,000.

But 10,000 won't come easily. Investors are excited about the prospect, but the recent damage occurring in the tech sector is giving bulls reason to pause. It's hard to imagine moving higher with conviction without the tech group in full yell. The importance of cap spending, which benefits tech, is vital to this bull run. When tech stumbles, everyone starts to cast about, looking for potential trouble ahead.

The tech woes come at an inopportune time. The recent whiff of revitalization in Japan has given the dreary oil sector a boost. And if oil is stirring, that means that the complex combination of events that have contributed to meek inflation readings may be starting to show strains. Sure, the

PPI

came in with a benign reading today. But that's looking back. The interest-rate watchers are always looking ahead, wondering how the magical Goldilocks economy -- not too fast, not too slow -- might come undone.

Is oil back for real? Is Japan? These are most definitely open questions. Oil has many obstacles before it can really move sharply higher, among them a more definitive recovery in Japan and in the rest of Asia. So investors who are focused on the near term ought to keep one eye trained on oil and Asia, while staring more intently at technology.

Oracle's

(ORCL) - Get Report

warning, which led to a 22% drop in its stock price, provides good reason to get nervous. But Oracle has blown up before, notably at the end of 1997. Back then, the tech sector managed to shake free from the Oracle mishap. The key, going forward, will be

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

,

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

and

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

. If these three titans, all of which struggled on Friday, can start to edge higher, then the dreams of Dow 10K will become a reality.

For Microsoft, the issue is twofold. One, the software giant needs to maintain its heady growth rate while handling rapid change in the Internet space. Two, it must contend with the persistent

Justice Department

inquiry.

So even though Dow 10K has everyone's imagination, keep close tabs on the big tech generals. They are going to call the tune.

Acampora Watch:

Prudential

technical analyst Ralph Acampora has made quite a name for himself with early, bold selections for the Dow to hit 10,000. But Acampora's recent dithering,

outlined by

James J. Cramer

among others, has its roots in the more distant past. In the summer of 1996, when the Dow experienced a swift downturn, people at Prudential said that Acampora got on the box and projected a deeper correction ahead -- right about when the stock market hit bottom and began bounding higher. He's a clever marketer, but the flip-flopping has some history to it...

Media Notes:

Wonder why the

periodistas

in dead-tree country don't get it? Check out a recent

San Francisco Chronicle

story that quotes Kara Swisher, a

Wall Street Journal

reporter, talking about how online journalists aren't really so much journalists as "link-a-lists" who do a lot of linking around. I'd link you to that

Chron

story, but I don't really know how. In her defense, Swisher says her words were taken out of context and she is a big fan of some online journalists...

Tip of the chapeau to Floyd Norris, the erstwhile markets columnist now scrounging about the edit pages of the

New York Times

. Norris wrote earlier this month about how Japan might be ready to start a comeback. Wham-o, the Nikkei has started rallying again. That's better than

Barton Biggs

!

Don't usually go in for political books, but the excerpts from George Stephanopoulos' new tome are very good. Lots of candor...

On the site:

If you missed it, you ought to go back and check out James J. Cramer's

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

chat transcript from Thursday

afternoon. It was a woolly day in the stock market, and Cramer provides all kinds of punch and insight in his chat...

Gregg Wirth

deserves kudos for his

work

tracking

TokyoMex ... And

James Padinha

has become an absolute must-read for those seeking understanding in the world of economics. Awesome stuff.

Black Thursday:

For Minnesotans like myself, Thursday was dark indeed. The

Golden Gophers

, caught up in an academic scandal, get tossed early from the NCAAs. And the

Timberpuppies

were forced to trade Stephon Marbury, an ace of an NBA'er who had become too homesick to stay in the heartland. Well, there's always baseball season and the

Triple-A Twins

.