This column was originally published on Street Insight on Jan. 5 at 8 a.m. EST. It's being republished as a bonus for and readers. For more information about subscribing to Street Insight, please click here .

The following are 10 rumors I've picked up from trading desks and other industry sources this morning.

1. Apple ( AAPL) will announce that Steve Jobs will be taking a leave of absence from the company.

2. The low-end cellular-phone market has been jammed with inventory as demand erodes. Guidance will be lowered by the leading manufacturers as margins erode and average selling prices continue to fall. ( Motorola ( MOT) is just the tip of the iceberg.) The high end is no better, as an all-out post-holiday price war seems to be developing.

Internet distributor Wirefly will announce an offering of a free Motorola Razr, Nokia's ( NOK) E62 and other high-end handsets with a T-Mobile, Sprint ( S) or Cingular one-year contract.

3. Personal computer retail sales have fallen off dramatically in Japan during the month of December. Dell ( DELL) will shortly guide down earnings expectations for the first quarter of 2007, in part because Vista (the release of the business version of Vista has come and gone) has started out slowly. (Note: I am short Dell at time of publication.)

4. Microsoft ( MSFT) is coming under scrutiny for sending out free AMD-equipped Acer laptops preloaded with Vista to prominent technology bloggers in an apparent effort to get press. APC magazine journalist Dan Warne writes that "whatever the subtleties of the offer were, it comes across as nothing more than a bribe, and that is a very bad look for Microsoft." (Note: I am short Microsoft at time of publication.)

5. More signs of an imbalance in the residential real estate market are appearing. For example, there's been a surge in vacant homes because of foreclosures, owners who bought another home and await sale of their first home, and homes that are for rent because they can't be sold. In certain regions of the country, such as California, vacant homes represent nearly 50% of annualized sales (triple the levels of four years ago).

6. A medium-sized private homebuilder and two more prominent subprime mortgage originators/servicers will shortly announce bankruptcy.

7. HSBC ( HBC) is considering the sale of its Household Finance subsidiary because of the hemorrhaging of profits in its mortgage business.

8. The falloff in subprime lending and the tightening of standards at traditional originators has caught the eye of the now Democrat-controlled House. There will be an attempt by the Democrats to introduce legislation that will subsidize first-time homebuyers, who because of affordability issues and less availability of subprime loans are having trouble getting mortgage financing.

9. The dramatic drop in prices in the energy complex coupled with a general decline in commodity prices will reverberate in the hedge fund market over the next month, as at least three large funds have each experienced $1 billion-plus losses.

10. Retailers -- caught with unexpectedly high inventories -- are worried about the first quarter's profitability and will announce initiatives (and create incentives) that will encourage consumers to spend their gift cards quickly. (For example, Home Depot ( HD) recently announced that it is offering to donate 5% of the gift card value of all gift cards redeemed by Jan. 28 to help build and maintain USO centers.)

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At time of publication, Kass and/or his funds were short DELL and MSFT, although holdings can change at any time.

Doug Kass is founder and president of Seabreeze Partners Management, Inc., and the general partner and investment manager of Seabreeze Partners Short LP and Seabreeze Partners Short Offshore Fund, Ltd. Until 1996, he was senior portfolio manager at Omega Advisors, a $4 billion investment partnership. Before that he was executive senior vice president and director of institutional equities of First Albany Corporation and JW Charles/CSG. He also was a General Partner of Glickenhaus & Co., and held various positions with Putnam Management and Kidder, Peabody. Kass received his bachelor's from Alfred University, and received a master's of business administration in finance from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School in 1972. He co-authored "Citibank: The Ralph Nader Report" with Nader and the Center for the Study of Responsive Law and currently serves as a guest host on CNBC's "Squawk Box."

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