Earnings numbers alone won't determine the fate of the group, either. The fear among investors is that the big wave of smartphone innovation has crested and receded. Now, instead of offering must-have features, a company like Apple is reduced to offering its new iPhone in more colors in an effort to drum up excitement. If the product announcements in September -- especially those from Apple -- are exciting enough to prove that pessimism false, I think technology stocks could outperform their earnings numbers. Without earnings or excitement, though, the sector won't provide the leadership an extension of this rally needs. If this sounds to you like a thin reed, I think you're right -- and this thin reed, bear in mind, is among the best hopes for the next stage in this rally. That indicates how just how extended the U.S. market is, and how far fundamentals are lagging behind share prices at the moment.