Preopen Trading: Tepid Open Likely, as Cliffhanger Continues

IBM and Philip Morris lower on this second day of "Let's Guess Who Will Be President."
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It's a cliffhanger

. As the world watches, elections officials recount votes for president in Florida. And investors, for their part, are largely sitting out market action. Volume has been light ahead of final tallies.

Investors who are in the market are skittish about the uncertainty. They drove stocks lower yesterday.

So it's little surprise that stocks are set for a tepid open today, as we enter the second day of "Let's Guess Who Will be President."

S&P 500 futures trading on

Globex

at 7:05 a.m. ET, were slightly below

fair value, as calculated by

Prudential Securities

. Futures for the

Nasdaq 100

, which tracks large cap tech stocks, were up 23.50 to 3084.50, five points above fair value, as calculated by

TheStreet.com

. Fair value helps gauge how stocks will move in early action. Today, we should see a pretty flat open.

At

Instinet

, the electronic trading network where investors can get in their trades both after the market closes for the day and before it opens in the morning,

IBM

(IBM) - Get Report

was off 1.5% to $98.50 in preopen action. It is lower on news that shipments of its newest mainframe computer would be delayed until next year. The company's announcement last night, when it had a call with analysts, that services sales growth should be stronger in the fourth quarter than in the third quarter did not seem to provide any relief for its stock.

TheStreet.com

wrote a

separate story on IBM's news.

Shares of

Internet Capital Group

(ICGE)

dove into negative territory in the postclose market last night. After the bell, the incubator for business-to-business companies announced that it plans to cut its staff by 35% and take a fourth-quarter charge of $25 million to $30 million in an effort to

strengthen its financial position. In preopen action, it was lately off 23.8% to $12.38 on Instinet.

And shares of

Philip Morris

(MO) - Get Report

were off 3.2% to $35.50. The tobacco giant, whose stock has been rising lately in anticipation that George W. will win the White House (and be more friendly to tobacco than a Gore presidency)

affirmed previous earnings projections for fiscal 2000 through 2003 and said it expects to complete the acquisition of

Nabisco Holdings

(NA)

by the end of the year.

So what is overseas action saying about what we can expect in the U.S. today? In Asia,

markets were mixed. The

Nikkei 225

in Japan moved 2.2% lower to 15,060.1. In Hong Kong, the

Hang Seng

dipped 1% to 15,504.8, and the South Korean

Kospi

rose 0.5% to 560.7. European markets were also mixed. The

CAC-40

in Paris was lately off 0.2% to 6323.35. The

DAX

in Germany was off 0.27% to 6993.10. In London, however, traders were moving the

FTSE

up 0.23% to 6494.10.

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