NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Unstoppable Apple (AAPL) continues to move higher, once again holding firm above the closely watched $600 psychological price. What truly sets Apple apart from the overall market as measured by the S&P 500 Spyder ETF (SPY) is the strong sales in Asia.Despite the overall market moving lower, or at best flat into the election and likely 2013, I expect Apple to move to new all-time highs. Apple is such a large part of Nasdaq's PowerShares QQQ Trust Series ( QQQ), that a decoupling, at least in part for a few months, is a real possibility. Why does Apple get a pass on the next six months? Apple doesn't get a pass for North America any more than anyone else. Apple has the advantage of a highly desirable brand that is increasing sales in Asia, and is already trading at a massive discount relative to its earnings growth and financial position. It's the Asian sales that will continue to pump earnings into Apple, driving the stock higher. For another look at Apple, Real Money's Tim Melvin wrote an article that includes it:
The looming rise in capital gains tax is also a pressing issue for the housing market. Look for homebuilders to stall out in the second half of 2012, but the weakness will become a buying opportunity if builders improve in 2013.Home builders Pulte Homes ( PHM), KB Home ( KBH), Lennar ( LEN), Horton ( DHI) and Toll Brothers ( TOL) all face headwinds from the upcoming tax increase. The housing market, which has made progress in many areas of the country, is faced with one of the largest tax increases in history. In 2013, earners making over $200,000 ($250,000 married) will get socked with a new 3.8% health care (Medicare) surcharge tax on capital gains, and a higher capital gains rate from 15% to 20%. For those selling a home with enough capital gains to push their income above $200,000 ($250,000 married), the difference in tax is 8.8%. Obviously, many sellers will want to sell in 2012 instead of 2013. Dropping the price by 5% will make perfect financial sense to anyone with a chance to sell before 2013 as opposed to holding out for what otherwise would be their selling price. The motivation to sell will create a domino effect with sellers lowering their prices in competition with each other until the difference in taxes is negated. For home builders, the increase in tax means trying to compete with increased inventory and motivated sellers for the rest of 2012. Sadly, many people who have never made $200K in a year before think they will not get caught in the new "rich man's tax," but will find out that the sale of their home triggers the tax. After the $200,000 exclusion ($500,000 for married), many will find they will have to pay the tax in 2013. For example, assume that a home is bought for $200K about 20 years ago and is now worth about $970K. The same couple also never earned more than $110K in a year, so they give the surcharge tax little thought or worry. They are retired and have taxable income of $60K per year from investments.
They sell their home and receive net $950K. They subtract their cost basis of $240K (after improvements) and $500K exclusion, and they end up with a gain of $210K. So far so good, right? Wrong, you add in the taxable income of $60K and our lovely couple is now for the first time over $250K, and it triggers the penalty tax on all their income that year.That's 8.8% more in taxes because they waited until 2013 instead of 2012. Over $23K in additional taxes, and much less money to enjoy in their retirement, if they wait. Clearly anyone in this situation is reviewing 2012 as the year to exit investments compared to 2013. Home builders, along with the rest of the market, will face headwinds until 2013. Along with housing, jobs and health care will also be major issues in 2013. The United States has more than 100,000 small businesses with a staff size between 40-60 people. Many of these firms offer health insurance, but not "good enough" health insurance to avoid added costs from federal penalties. Owners and shareholders who face extremely large annual penalties will have to question if it makes financial sense expanding the company. Obviously many will choose to wait and see, which in turn results in less remodeling work, building, training and all the other investments driven by expansion. Of course, the workers who are not hired because of uncertainty and or known costs have less income and in turn spend less. Some will begin or continue to collect public assistance, some will commit crime, but all as a whole, will add less to the economy. They are casualties of war, the war on the free market by those who believe central planning works better for society. For more on this, read my article,