Market Update: Dow Maintains Triple-Digit Gain at Close; Cisco Hampers Comp

<LI>J.P. Morgan, GM lead Dow's charge.</LI><LI>Chip stocks rally.</LI>
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average held fast to its triple-digit-gain at the closing bell.

On any other day, that much of a boost would be impressive, but today, the impact was lost since volume was light as money sat on the sidelines ahead of the election.

Light or not, the blue-chip rally was widespread with the most help coming from

J.P. Morgan

(JPM) - Get Report

, which is getting ready to merge with

Chase Manhattan

(CMB)

. This morning, consumer advocacy group Inner City Press/Community on the Move said it filed papers with U.S. regulators opposing the merger because of Chase's allegedly biased lending practices.

The Dow's other heavy contributors were

General Motors

(GM) - Get Report

,

3M

(MMM) - Get Report

and

United Technologies

.

The

Nasdaq Composite Index was fairly volatile all day ahead of

Cisco's

(CSCO) - Get Report

post-close earnings announcement. The Comp ended just below the flatline. Meanwhile, Cisco was off 2.9%.

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 company is one of the market's last tech heavyweights to report this season. 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 blamed earnings weakness going forward on a

slowdown in capital spending on computer and telecom equipment this quarter.

Cisco-watchers also note that 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 comprised not only Cisco, but also computermaker

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

, software giant

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

and chipmaker

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

. Dell was down 3.3%, Microsoft was 1.8% higher and Intel was up 1.4%.

TheStreet.com's

Adam Lashinsky wrote a separate story about Cisco's

earnings report.

Meanwhile,

VA Linux Systems

(LNUX)

was down 42.1% after it warned it sees a loss of 14 cents to 16 cents a share in the first-quarter, excluding items, compared 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. The maker of software and computer operating systems attributed its wider-than-expected first-quarter losses to slower sales from dot-com-sector customers.

But

Turnstone

(TSTN)

takes the cake as the biggest loser. The stock plummeted 64.8%, or $19.13, to $10.63 after it said its fourth-quarter revenue would be well below estimates. The company's flagship product is used to manage and maintain DSL Internet connections for telephone companies. Turnstone said it lowered estimates because the development of computer networks has been scaled back and financing opportunities are diminishing.

Sector Watch

Semiconductors followed through on a light rally begun last week, with Intel up 1.4%,

Advanced Micro Devices

(AMD) - Get Report

2.4% higher and

Xilinx

(XLNX) - Get Report

rising 2%. The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index

was up 0.7%.

The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Oil Service Index

was down 1.5%. It was brought down by nearly every component, including

Cooper Cameron

(CAM)

and

Schlumberger

(SLB) - Get Report

.

The

S&P Insurance Index

rose 2.3%. Component

St. Paul

(SPC)

, a U.S. business insurer, posted better-than-expected earnings for its third-quarter earlier today.

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Bonds/Economy

Bonds were lower this afternoon in light volume ahead of tomorrow's elections. There are no new economic data.

The benchmark 10-year

Treasury note is at 99 5/32, down 8/32, to yield 5.863%.

The 30-year

Treasury bondis at 104 31/32, 15/32 lower, to yield 5.893%.

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