Blue chips end strongly, tech concerns linger


Associated Press

NEW YORK — The prospect of a resolution to the presidential election dispute sent the Dow industrials sharply higher today, but investors were more restrained about high-tech companies amid lingering earnings concerns.

"Getting the election settled is of primary importance to the markets," said Thom Brown, portfolio manager for Rutherford, Brown &amp Catherwood. "The market hates uncertainty. It doesn’t really matter who wins. Just getting it over with would help."

The Dow Jones industrial average soared 187.41 to close at 10,560.95.

Broader indicators were mixed. The Nasdaq composite index, which ended last week down 9 percent, fell 29.04 to 2,616.25. The Standard &amp Poor’s 500 index rose 9.83 to 1,325.06.

In recent sessions, investors had more or less shrugged off the political uncertainty, preferring to focus on what they know quite well: Earnings are key to stock prices. But today, fears about falling corporate profits were second to news about the election.

For most of the day, blue chips posted moderate gains and technology issues were down. But stocks rose soon after the U.S. Supreme Court set aside a Florida high court ruling that permitted selective manual recounts in Florida’s contested presidential election, and sent the case back "for further proceedings."

After the decision, "stocks popped," said A.C. Moore, chief investment strategist for Dunvegan Associates in Santa Barbara, Calif., because investors saw an end soon to the presidential election uncertainty.

But the Nasdaq, which has been most vulnerable lately to investors’ uneasiness about earnings, was unable to hold its modest gains.

Since Election Day, investors have alternated between two strategies: selling off stocks in general, or seeking relative safety in blue chips while also bargain hunting in the beaten-down high-tech sector. But increasing worries about shrinking corporate profits and an economic slowdown, have kept the market’s rallies from lasting more than a session or two at a time.

Nasdaq gainers today included software maker Oracle, which rose $1.75 to close at $28.19, and fiber optic company Ciena, up $3.25 at $80.19.

But network equipment maker Cisco Systems, which closed down $1.81 at $46.69, and WorldCom, which slipped $1.19 to $14.81, helped keep the Nasdaq in negative territory.

Blue chips got a boost from pharmaceuticals, considered safer buys in bearish markets. Pfizer rose $1.06 to $44.50 and Johnson &amp Johnson rose $1.88 to $99.63.

Retailing stocks, which fell over the past week due to declining consumer confidence, also ended higher. Wal-Mart soared $2.31 to $53.50 and Gap advanced $1.69 to $26.44.

Investors also bid up PepsiCo after it sealed a deal to buy Quaker Oats over the weekend. PepsiCo rose $1.38 to $43.75 and Quaker advanced $1.94 to $90.94. Both were among the most actively traded stocks on the New York Stock Exchange.

Two economic reports gave investors more reason to fear the economy is slowing faster than is desirable, and analysts said that fed some of the selling in high-tech stocks.

The government reported Monday that Americans bought fewer new homes in October. A separate report by the Conference Board reported that its Index of Leading Indicators, a key gauge of future economic activity, fell 0.2 percent in October, suggesting further slowing for the U.S. economy well into next year.

But the reports also gave Wall Street more reason to hope that the Federal Reserve when it meets Dec. 19 will say that inflation poses less threat to the economy, which could be a precursor to lower interest rates next year.

The Russell 2000 index, which tracks the performance of smaller companies, fell 6.45 to 450.39.

Advancing issues matched decliners on the NYSE where volume was 1.08 billion shares, down significantly from 1.18 billion Friday.

Overseas, Japan’s Nikkei stock average rose 0.8 percent. European markets were lower. Germany’s DAX index fell 1.6 percent, Britain’s FT-SE 100 lost 0.2 percent, and France’s CAC-40 slipped 2.3 percent.

Copyright ©2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Kim Skarda points at her home on a map on Thursday, June 20, 2024 in Concrete, Washington. A community called Sauk River Estates has a very steep slope above it. There is a DNR-approved timber sale that boarders the estate properties, yet they were not consulted about the sale before approval. The community has already appealed the sale and has hired their own geologist to conduct a slope stability report at the site. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Beneath steep slope, Concrete neighbors fear landslides from logging above

Nielsen Brothers plans to cut 54 acres of timber directly behind the community of 83 homes. Locals said they were never consulted.

Law enforcement respond to a person hit by a train near the Port of Everett Mount Baker Terminal on Thursday, June 27, 2024 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
2 killed in waterfront train crashes were near Mukilteo ‘quiet zone’

In June, two people were hit by trains on separate days near Mukilteo Boulevard. “These situations are incredibly tragic,” Everett’s mayor said.

Rob Plotnikoff takes a measurement as a part of the county's State of Our Waters survey at Tambark Creek in Bothell, Washington on Monday, July 1, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Snohomish County stream team bushwhacks a path to healthier waterways

This summer, the crew of three will survey 40 sites for the State of Our Waters program. It’s science in locals’ backyards.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
4th suspect arrested after Mountlake Terrace home robbery

Police arrested Taievion Rogers, 19, on Tuesday. Prosecutors charged his three alleged accomplices in April.

A 10 acre parcel off of Highway 99, between 240th and 242nd Street Southwest that the city of Edmonds is currently in the process of acquiring on Monday, July 10, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edmonds ditches $37M Landmark public park project off Highway 99

The previous mayor envisioned parks and more in south Edmonds, in a historically neglected area. The new administration is battling budget woes.

Edmonds school official sworn in as Mount Vernon supe

Victor Vergara took his oath of office last week. He was assistant superintendent of equity and student success in Edmonds.

Former president Donald Trump is seen with a bloody ear as he is assisted off the stage during a campaign rally in Butler, Pa., on Saturday. MUST CREDIT: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post
Pops, screams and then blood: On the scene at the Trump rally shooting

Isaac Arnsdorf, Jabin Botsford | The Washington Post BUTLER, Pa. - The… Continue reading

Biden, Democrats, Republicans denounce shooting at Trump rally

Reaction pours in from government leaders

A bloodied Donald Trump is surrounded by Secret Service agents at a campaign rally in Butler, Pa, on Saturday, July, 13, 2024. The former president was rushed off stage at rally after sounds like shots; the former president was escorted into his motorcade at his rally in Butler, Pa., a rural town about an hour north of Pittsburgh. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)
Trump rally shooting investigated as assassination attempt

President Joe Biden gave a brief televised statement, condemning the violence as “sick.”

Man charged with hate crime in knife attack at Ezell’s in Edmonds

The suspect, 47, waved a knife at two workers while yelling about getting rid of “the Hispanics,” charging papers say.

Firefighters and EMTs with Sky Valley Fire tour Eagle Falls while on an observational trip on Wednesday, July 10, 2024, near Index, Washington. (Jordan Hansen / The Herald)
Beautiful but deadly: Drownings common at Eagle Falls, other local waters

Locals and firefighters are sounding the alarm as Eagle Falls and the Granite Falls Fish Ladder have claimed five lives this year.

A view of the south eastern area of the Lake Stevens that includes lakeshore and UGA that is a part of the city's annexation area on Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020 in Lake Stevens, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Lake Stevens fight to take over sewer district could end soon

The city and sewer district have been locked in a yearslong dispute. A judge could put an end to the stalemate this month.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.