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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.



(HON) - Get Honeywell International Inc. Report

was pulling down its merger partner

General Electric

(GE) - Get General Electric Company Report

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.

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Another General was marching today.

General Motors

(GM) - Get General Motors Company Report

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.


Eastman Kodak


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

(PG) - Get Procter & Gamble Company Report

was jumping 3.2% to $71.25 after its counterpart


(CL) - Get Colgate-Palmolive Company Report

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

Sun Microsystems

(SUNW) - Get Sunworks, Inc. Report

, 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

JDS Uniphase







(QCOM) - Get Qualcomm Inc Report


The biggest slacker on the tech-heavy index was

TriQuint Semiconductor


which was downgraded by

Credit Suisse First Boston

because the firm felt its high valuation was unwarranted.

Sector Watch

Brokerages were hurting today.

Keefe Bruyette & Woods

lowered its earnings estimates on

Merrill Lynch



Legg Mason

(LM) - Get Legg Mason, Inc. Report

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

dropped 4.4%.

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


definition |

chart ) fell 0.3% in the latest week. The

Redbook Retail Average


definition |

chart ) found December sales running even with November after two weeks, compared to a target of 1.0% ahead.

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