Caution Reigns Ahead of Presidential Election, Apple's Stock Holds Gains

The blue chips on the Dow fell while the Nasdaq scraped out a modest gain as many institutional buyers decided to wait out the US Presidential and Congressional elections. Appleis stock lost a 1/16 after opening higher.

The Dow has had quite a run in the last two weeks and deserves a rest. However, todayis weakness was blamed in part on the October unemployment report which shows an economy perhaps a bit stronger than the Federal Reserve had planned "suggesting that an interest-rate cut isnit likely in the near future," according the Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile, Qualcomm (QCOM) help float tech stocks on Friday by reporting 4th quarter earnings of $0.25 a share, beating First Callis estimate by a penny. Qualcommis pro forma net income was $200.8 million, up from $182.9 million or $0.24 a share in the year-ago period.

Next week look for Cisco (CSCO) to report earnings on Monday and Dell to report on Thursday.

Appleis stock dipped 1/16 to close at 22 1/4 on volume of 9.1 million shares.

MacWeek reports that in theory itis possible for Apple to port OS X to CPUs made by Advanced Micro Devices or Intel to get past the speed block Motorolais RISC coprocessors seem to have encountered.

MacWeek quoted James Berry of Critical Path Software: "It would be easier to move Mac OS X to another processor than it was to move from Mac OS 9 to Mac OS X."

The Nasdaq gained 22 points (0.68%) to close at 10816 on volume of 1.7 billion shares. After four days of positive gains investor sentiment is growing brighter as the Nasdaqis recent double bottom in the 3000 range seems to be providing a solid base to build on.

The Dow shed 62 points (-0.59%) to close at 10817 on volume of 983 million shares. The Dow continues to digest the phenomenal gains of the last two weeks. Traders believe a flag or pendant consolidation formation is building in the chart of the Dow, this is a bullish indication of further rally to come most likely after the elections.

The S&P 500 lost 1.58 points (-0.11%) to close at 1426.74.

In Apple related businesses: Akamai climbed 1 7/8 to 53 15/16. Earthlink climbed 1/4 to 7 1/8.

IBM is the undisputed world leader in supercomputing. The company announced itis targeting the construction of a computer capable of 100 trillion calculations per second. IBM slipped 1 13/16 to 100 1/8.

Dell may know how "e" works, but that doesnit mean they know why their web hosting service was down on Friday. Dell gained 3/4 to 32 9/16.

Compaqis handheld iPaq H3650 is going wireless and the Houston-based PC maker is pushing the iPaq to its corporate customers. It appears there is a demand for Compaqis handheld. The New York Times claims, "the iPaq handheld is in such short supply, the CompUSA in Rockville, Md., canit stock an adequate display model. That unit, which helps keep the store almost continuously sold out of the handheld, has a smashed screen. Compaq shed 0.33 to 31.09.

In an example of Windowis ease of use Microsoft issued complex instructions on how to rewrite the Windows 2000 registry in order to remove a simple disk defragmenter software tool. The tool was written by a California company owned by a Scientologist and some German citizens believe it may contain subversive code and have demanded Microsoft to provide a means to remove the software from their PCs.

C/NET said the software removal is "a difficult process best reserved for computer specialists, as an error could cripple the entire computer. The instructions appear in German on Microsoftis Web site."

Meanwhile, Bill Gates, the worldis richest man, was lecturing attendees at the "Creating Digital Dividends" conference in Seattle on what it means to live in abject poverty. Shares of Microsoft lost 2 1/16 to 68 1/4.

In economic news: Octoberis unemployment rate remained unchanged from September at a 30-year low of 3.9%, much to the surprise of economists who forecast unemployment would rise slightly as the economy cools. Not surprisingly, average hourly earnings rose by 0.4% to $13.89 in October.

The Wall Street Journal noted, "Fridayis report put the jobless rate among Hispanics down to 5%, the lowest on record. The rate for other minorities also hovered near record lows. Unemployment among African-Americans edged up to 7.3%, but stayed near to the all-time low of 7% reached in September."

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.