So, the day's already gotten off to a bad start -- that's not a good sign for an already nervous market.

Hewlett-Packard

(HWP)

announced this morning that it missed fourth-quarter estimates by 10 cents. The company also announced this morning that it ended discussions to acquire the consulting arm of

PricewaterhouseCoopers

. The bid had been seen as a move to bolster the services part of its business. Hewlett-Packard, a computer and imaging giant, lately was down $5.13 to $34 in heavy before-the-bell trading on the electronic brokerage

Instinet

.

TheStreet.com

wrote more about

H-P's earnings in a separate story this morning.

Internet incubator

CMGI

(CMGI)

continued the slide it started last week after an online advertising company in which it has a majority interest,

Engage

(ENGA)

, announced lower-than-expected revenue. CMGI lately was down 6.4%, or $1, to $14.62.

Let's call a spade a spade. There's not much green on Instinet's list of the 20 most actively traded stocks in preopen action, with

Avis Group Holdings

(AVI)

,

Microcell Telecom

(MICT) - Get Report

,

Apple

(AAPL) - Get Report

and

Palm

(PALM)

the only gainers.

Avis was gaining on news that franchising company

Cendant

(CD)

is buying the car-rental company. Avis lately was $2 higher to $32.

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The uncertainty of the outcome of the presidential election continues to send tremors through the markets. Futures were not pretty. The

S&P 500 futures on

Globex

lately were down 11.20 to 1361.30, about 11 points below fair value as calculated by

TheStreet.com

.

Nasdaq 100

futures were 79 points lower to 2815, about 92 points below fair value as calculated by

TSC

. That spells an ugly open for tech stocks this morning in early trading.

Europe's major indices were tentatively higher, with France's

CAC 40

up 0.3%, Germany's

Xetra Dax

up 0.1% and the U.K.'s

FTSE 100

up 0.2%. Japan's

Nikkei 225

lost 2.2% overnight, while Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

slipped 3.7% (see today's

Asian Markets Update for more).

For Friday's postclose trading, see The Night Watch.