Lesson one: Punch your ballot through all the way.
Lesson two: Markets don't like uncertainty.
As Wall Street and the rest of the country await the
U.S. Supreme Court's
ruling on the Florida recount, the major indices were mixed, not knowing which way to move.
Dow Jones Industrial Average was on the upside, but off session highs that were in the triple digits. The
Nasdaq Composite Index was doing what it's done all day, which was languishing in the red.
Today was looking like one of those flight-to-quality days since the selloff was in tech, but looking at blue-chip news today would make you think otherwise.
was pulling down its merger partner
after it said it would miss fourth-quarter earnings estimates. Last night, GE's CEO Jack Welch said his company is on track to meet 2000 estimates and that he's comfortable with 2001 estimates. Still, GE lately was down 4.4% to $52.94, while Honeywell was 5.6% lower to $52.13.
Another General was marching today.
announced it would phase out its Oldsmobile line over the next few years because it hasn't been profitable and will cut its salaried workforce by 10%. The automaker said it would take a non-recurring charge, which will hurt earnings in the fourth quarter. Investors liked the news and in recent trading GM was up 1.1% to $52.13.
warned that its would miss expectations, citing a slowdown in consumer demand which was resulting in retailers reducing inventories. Logic would follow that the stock would have fallen on the news, but there's no logic in an uncertain, oversold market and lately it was up 6.3% to $42.06.
In happier blue-chip news,
Procter & Gamble
was jumping 3.2% to $71.25 after its counterpart
said it foresaw a good fourth quarter and that its earnings would meet estimates. Colgate was lifted 4.7% to $59.22 on the news.
Meanwhile, despite denying rumors about accounting problems at
, the stock was suffering. It was off 0.6% to $33.75 amid questions about its growth prospects.
Some of the most-actively tanking stocks on the Nasdaq included
The biggest slacker on the tech-heavy index was
which was downgraded by
Credit Suisse First Boston
because the firm felt its high valuation was unwarranted.
Brokerages were hurting today.
Keefe Bruyette & Woods
lowered its earnings estimates on
today, citing slipping trading and investment banking revenues. Merrill was lately down 2.9% to $70.13, Legg Mason lost 4.3% to $54.06 and the
American Stock Exchange Broker/Dealer Index
And those interest-rate sensitive banks were having an off day as well. The sector's been riding high on hints of an interest rate cut in the not-too-distant future. The
Philadelphia Stock Exchange/KBW Bank Index
was 0.9% lower.
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Treasuries are narrowly mixed on light volume and little news, as the nation awaits the Supreme Court's ruling on the presidential election in Florida.
The benchmark 10-year
Treasury note lately was up 2/32 to 102 31/32, its yield 5.352%.
The only economic news of the day, the weekly retail sales reports, were surprisingly weak, news that the bond market normally welcomes because it indicates that economic growth is slowing. The
BTM Weekly U.S. Retail Chain Store Sales Index
chart ) fell 0.3% in the latest week. The
Redbook Retail Average
chart ) found December sales running even with November after two weeks, compared to a target of 1.0% ahead.
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