Dow Hangs In Suspended Animation and the Nasdaq Bombs

It was the Twilight Zone on Wall Street as stunned investors wait for one of the closest Presidential elections in U.S. history to resolve itself. The mood was grim on the Nasdaq, pushing tech stocks down, down, down.

Some investors are apparently predicting a Bush win by trading up drug, tobacco and oil stocks since itis believed a Bush Presidency would be kind to those industries.

Wall Street is particularly worried that the deadlocked election could continue to linger for days or weeks leaving the markets stuck in idle. If the election result (expected by late afternoon tomorrow) is challenged, the Nasdaq may come unhinged. Investors hate uncertainty. You can imagine how they feel about a constitutional crisis.

The tech stock weakness was set off by continued concerns about Ciscois (CSCO) recent earnings report which warned of a massive parts inventory buildup. First Allied and Morgan Stanley downgraded Cisco today.

Internet stocks were also suffering from Pet.coms (IPET) going-out-of-business notice yesterday afternoon and the resignation of a Priceline.com (PCLN) executive who declared that the company has failed in its goal to sell cars online.

Appleis stock dipped 1 1/4, or -5.87%, to close at 20 1/16 on volume of 7.47 million shares. AAPL sold off in the morning then held steady the rest of the day.

Charles Haddad of Business Week rehashed the strategic error Steve Jobs made this summer when he dumped Appleis well-establish freelance educational sales force to bring the job in-house.

"What prompted the move," according to Mr. Haddad, "was the surprise departure of Appleis top education sales executive, Mike Lorion, who departed in the summer -- just as computers were being bought for the coming academic year. Trying to switch sales teams created chaos, according to the schools. Many administrators said the only way they could reach Apple was through the Internet, while Dellis salespeople were showing up in person."

The Nasdaq shed 183 points (-5.39%) to close at the dayis low of 3232 on volume of 1.6 billion shares. No one is blaming the uncertain Presidential race for the tech stockis woes... yet. CNBC reported that technology mutual funds seem to the main culprits in todayis big sell-off as they unload some of their long positions.

This recent downturn could become the sixth time this year the Nasdaq has fallen back to test the support at 3,000.

The Dow lost 45 points (-0.45%) to close at 10907 on volume of 881 million shares.

The S&P 500 lost 22 points (-1.61%) to close at 1408.

In Apple related businesses: Akamai fell 5 3/4 to 52 dollars. Adobe shed 2 dollars to 80 1/4. Motorola lost 7/8 to 23 1/4.

Pixar (PIXR), Steve Jobsi animation studio, reported 3rd quarter earnings or $0.18 per share or $8.8 million compared to $0.63 per share or $32.3 million in the year-ago quarter.

Mr. Jobs, Pixaris CEO said, "Our strong third quarter results demonstrate the profit potential of our expanding feature film library. We are delighted by how well Monsters, Inc. is progressing, and we are fully on schedule for its Thanksgiving 2001 release. Also, we are thrilled to announce that production is underway on our fifth feature film, Finding Nemo, and that we have secured the coveted summer release slot in 2003."

IBM lost 2 1/8 to 100 dollars. Sam Palmisano, IBMis new president and COO, is meeting with security analysts today to explain why revenues only grew 3% last quarter. However, IBMis PC division is finally back in the black after 3 unprofitable years.

It was a tough day for computer hardware stocks which lost as a group over 5%. Dell shed 2 1/4 to 30 5/16. Tomorrow afternoon Dell releases 3rd quarter earnings results and there is some concern that the Austin-based PC vendor could report inventory problems during their conference call. Compaq lost 1.93 to 29.35. Gateway was lower by 3.36 to 48 dollars.

Shares of Microsoft lost 1 1/16 to 69 7/16 after Lehman Brothers raised its 12-month target on the company to $115 from $85. Microsoft has fared well recently on speculation that a Bush Presidency would save Microsoft from its legal woes.

Hewlett Packard launched an allegedly stylish new compact-size PC, the Pavilion 2755C, aimed at home users who want a second PC. C/NET News said, "it lacks some of the features that seem to draw repeat buyers. A low-powered, non-upgradeable graphics accelerator and the absence of a DVD drive for playing movies are major oversights in a system for the living room, analysts say." HP dropped 13/4 to 45 11/16.

For full quotes on all the companies mentioned in this article, we have assembled this set of quotes at Yahoo! for your reference. For other stories regarding Appleis stock activity, visit our updated Apple Stock Watch Special Report.

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