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Market Update: Dow Feeling Giddy Ahead of Elections

<LI>Nasdaq struggling for direction.</LI> <LI>Cisco lower as investors await earnings report.</LI> <LI>VA Linux drops after warning.</LI>
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If you looked at the

Dow Jones Industrial Average this morning, you might conclude that all is right in the world -- no pre-election jitters here.

This much optimism in the blue-chip index is downright strange considering polls are showing the tightest presidential race in 40 years. And rallying isn't unique to one sector, but fairly widespread. Banking giant

J.P. Morgan

(JPM) - Get JPMorgan Chase & Co. Report

was approved today, automotive maker

General Motor

(GM) - Get General Motors Company Report

, software king

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation Report

and diversified

United Technologies

(UTX) - Get n.a. Report

, for example, were each helping to bolster the Dow.

An

TheStreet Recommends

earlier article on

TheStreet.com's

sister site,

RealMoney.com

, by Daniel Gross tells how the Dow might be a better indicator than recent polls as to what the outcome of the election will be.

The Dow is within kissing distance of 11,000 -- remarkable given that the index fell below the 10,000 mark in mid October.

The teach heavy

Nasdaq Composite Index lately struggled between positive and negative territory on unease ahead of

Cisco's

(CSCO) - Get Cisco Systems, Inc. Report

earnings announcement that will be released after the market closes this afternoon. Cisco lately was off $1.31 to $55.44.

Last week, the Nasdaq managed to gain 260 points. With this year's most difficult

earnings season grinding to a close, many investors think all the bad news is out in the open and has been accounted for in stock prices. Tech stocks got knocked down in September and October, and investors may finally be feeling a bit more comfortable with valuations.

But Cisco's earnings report carries a lot of weight. The networking company is one of the market's last tech heavyweights to report earnings this season. And while Cisco has beaten earnings estimates for 14 straight quarters, some worry it may have come to the end of its earnings growth rope. Several tech and telecom bellwethers have announced they will have weakness in their earnings going forward, a decline they blame on a corporate

slowdown in capital spending on computer and telecom equipment.

The networking legend's stock price hasn't been shredded like those of the other former tech leaders. Once called the Four Horseman, this group was comprised of Cisco, computer maker

Dell

(DELL) - Get Dell Technologies Inc Class C Report

, Microsoft and chipmaker

Intel

(INTC) - Get Intel Corporation Report

.

TheStreet.com's

Adam Lashinsky recently wrote a separate story about

Cisco.

Meanwhile,

VA Linux Systems

(LNUX)

was down 40.1%, or $12.25, to $17.75 after it warned it sees a loss of 14 cents to 16 cents a share in the first-quarter, excluding items. That compares with a loss of 27 cents a share in the same period last year. The

First Call/Thomson Financial

survey of six analysts expected a loss of 9 cents a share.

VA Linux, maker of software and computer operating systems, attributed its wider-than-expected first-quarter losses to slower sales from dot-com-sector customers.

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Sector Watch

Semiconductors were following through on a light rally that began last week, with Intel up 2%,

Advanced Micro Devices

(AMD) - Get Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Report

3.2% higher and

Applied Materials

(AMAT) - Get Applied Materials, Inc. Report

rising 1.1%. The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index

, which has been on a wild ride lately, was up 1.5%.

The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Oil Service Index

, which has surged along with oil prices lately, was down 1.9%. It was brought down by nearly every component.

Cooper Cameron

(CAM)

was off 3.4% and

Schlumberger

(SLB) - Get Schlumberger NV Report

was 2.3% lower.

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Bonds/Economy

Bonds were slightly lower this morning on light volume ahead of tomorrow's elections.

The benchmark 10-year

Treasury note is at 99 4/32, down 9/32, to yield 5.868%.

The 30-year

Treasury bondis at 104 27/32, 18/32 lower, to yield 5.901%.

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