Despite our interest for all things Apple, the hype surrounding upcoming product introductions from Apple Computer (APPL) has become downright cloying.

All the while, the backlash against CEO Steve Jobs in regards to the options backdating scandal continues to grow. John Helleman in New York magazine, Daniel Gross in and the Economist all focus on the (seemingly) different set of rules Jobs plays by and the (hope) of investors he will remain at the head of the company.

No one should be surprised that General Electric (GE) is looking to private equity to offload their plastics division. What it is interesting is that they are restricting so-called ‘club deals’ for the division. (Wall Street Journal & New York Times)

Aaron Lucchetti in the Wall Street Journal picks up on the idea that institutional investors continue to seek out “dark pools of liquidity.”

CXO Advisory Group reviews some research on identifying the probability that the market is in a bull or bear phase.

Brett Steenbarger at TraderFeed uses a simple system to categorize the equity market’s movements.

All About Alpha on a study that shows increasing fund flows have not (generally) hurt alpha generation opportunities for hedge funds.

Larry Swedroe at reviews some research on the ‘risk of distress’ and the returns to the small-cap and value effects.

David Andrew Taylor at on reduced macroeconomic volatility and the steep fall in currency volatility.

James Picerno at the Capital Spectator on reduced earnings expectations for 2007.

Dave Altig at macroblog on whether reduced energy dependence lessens the effect of oil on the economy.

Barry Ritholtz at the Big Picture on Goldman’s continued remodeling of the GSCI by reducing its energy exposure.

Jen Ryan at on the end of the Canada ‘snub’ as Vanguard rolls out funds that use a “true” world equity index.

Stephen J. Dubner at the Freakonomics Blog on the “secret of happiness.”

For those still looking for investment-related New Year’s resolutions, Christine Benz at has some ways to simplify your investment life.

Thanks to all of our new readers. You can always reach us with questions and/or comments.