The

Nasdaq Composite Index was lately back below 3000, taking a synchronized dive along with the other major indices an hour after they went soaring on the announcement that a Florida judge had rejected a petition by the Gore campaign to include hand-recounted votes.

While the election melee continues, money remains on the sidelines. The modest volume is creating volatility, resulting in a roller-coaster ride for the major indices. Still, others are saying the election is just an excuse for what really amounts to the market's concerns over slowing growth and lower-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings.

But Unix systems company

Sun Microsystems

(SUNW) - Get Report

was bucking the fourth-quarter-warning trend, announcing that it's on track to meet earnings targets for the current quarter and that demand remains strong.

TheStreet.com

took a close look at

Sun's news. Sun was up early on, but lately was off 0.9%.

Other stocks that were up earlier but that had recently lost steam include chipmaking giant

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

. It said it would launch its new high-speed Pentium 4 chip in a bid to upstage rival

Advanced Micro Devices

(AMD) - Get Report

in the market for processors that run personal computers. Intel was lately unchanged.

The heaviest drag on the

Dow Jones Industrial Average was

J.P. Morgan

(JPM) - Get Report

, which was slapping about 33 negative points on the index. Financials, overall, have had a crummy week after

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

had a negative asset quality announcement in its 10-Q.

The star today was book retailer

Barnes & Noble

(BKS) - Get Report

, lately up 16.7%. It was upgraded to buy from outperform at

Salomon Smith Barney

and by

Merrill Lynch

to buy from accumulate. Solly said the upgrade reflected solid business trends in the core book operations.

Sector Watch

The

American Stock Exchange Broker/Dealer Index

was down 2.3%. Most of its components were down.

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

(MWD)

fell 4.5%. The firm, along with First Union and Bank of America, were agents on a $1.7 billion loan to

Sunbeam

(SOC)

in March 1998. Earlier this week, debt-laden Sunbeam reported a third-quarter loss well below estimates.

Stocks that would likely react well under a Bush administration were rallying today. The

American Stock Exchange Pharmaceutical Index

was rising 0.5% and the

American Stock Exchange Tobacco Index

was 1.2% higher.

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Bonds/Economy

Treasuries are under pressure following a Florida judge's ruling in favor of Republican candidate George W. Bush. The judge rejected Democratic candidate Al Gore's request that hand recounts be included in the final vote tally, which currently favors Bush.

Treasuries are responding to the prospect of a Bush presidency, which bond market analysts say will do more than a Gore administration to erode federal budget surpluses. Federal budget surpluses have boosted the value of Treasury securities, because they have led to reduced issuance of Treasuries.

The benchmark 10-year

Treasury note lately was down 6/32 to 100 13/32, lifting its yield to 5.696%.

The only economic news of the day was a touch weaker than expected. Housing starts (

definition |

chart | source ) rose a scant 0.1% 1.532 million in October from 1.530 million in September. Economists polled by

Reuters

had forecast a 1.556 million rate. However building permit issuance rose more than expected, to 1.537 million from 1.518 million.

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