Watch Micron Technology (MU) .
The semis can't go up without Micron. And without the semis you just don't have the tech leadership you need to mount a significant run.
We know that we lost FAANG ages ago, ever since the federal government and the states decided that these companies were too powerful. Remember, there are two kinds of antitrust doctrine: the real one, meaning that a company conspires to keep prices high and competitors out, and the fake one, which is the one we have now where companies are perceived to be too powerful.
I say real because the current antitrust doctrine is based on stopping anticompetitive mergers. The old doctrine, the Standard Oil type doctrine, is about sheer market power. It is absolutely true, for example, that Amazon (AMZN) has tremendous market power, but is there a soul who thinks that it raises prices? Does anyone have to be on Facebook (FB) ? How in heck is that a negative factor? Alphabet (GOOGL) keeps ad rates low. Sure, you could argue that it hurts publications. Then again, where would they be without it, given that the notion of a delivery of a newspaper can possibly be competitive with anything online?
I could go on and on about every FAANG.
It doesn't matter, though. It simply isn't a leadership ground anymore. I mean, does anyone really think that Apple (AAPL) can take out its old high of $233, even as it is up 41% this year. Between China tension and concerns about the current iPhone iteration is there an analyst or his brother, save Katy Huberty at Morgan Stanley, that doesn't want to downgrade it?
Which brings us back to Micron. Here's a momentum stock that stands for semis because it has both flash and DRAM, basic building blocks of all small electronics. The stock had been climbing right into last week's quarter -- and the company hit the numbers but it blew it on the forecast, not letting analysts raise numbers and, instead, forcing them to drop them.
It has been for sale ever since, even after the 11% decline on the day after earnings, which is the worst selloff since 2015.
Yesterday, it hit $42, which is pretty much straight down from $49, where enough analysts predicted a blow-away quarter as the momentum crowd continues to pour out of the burning theatre.
How much further down can it go?
I think the key may be the monster buyback where the company is trying to crunch more than 15% of the company's outstanding shares.
When I interviewed Sanjay Mehrotra last week on Squawk on the Street, he said he bought back $2.6 billion worth of 67 million shares -- and the buyback, which still has $7.4 billion of firepower for this $47 billion stock, will kick in right around these prices.
Now you would think that might not matter when more than 20 million shares traded on the Jewish New Year, a historic light day.
But I think the combination of a drastic decline and the buyback might cause a bottom to be put in, provided it opens lower. If it opens higher, the people who didn't finish their sell orders are likely to come back to get the job done.
I do not think a serious rally can occur in the most important leadership group without this one.
For the record, given that Mehrotra forecast a robust 2020, it shouldn't be down that much already. It sells at 7x earnings. But it's a busted momentum stock that had been the leader of the group.
That's why it is, in many ways, the most important stock in this market. Any other leader is a false one, because Micron has China, it has cellphones and it has industrial. That's all the cohorts save health care. That's what defines a leader. That's why if you only have one stock to watch, make it this one.