Archive for Tuesday, December 5, 2000

Election ruling lifts blue chips

Investors use caution in high-tech dealings

December 5, 2000


— The prospect of a resolution to the presidential election dispute sent the Dow industrials sharply higher Monday, 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 & 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 186.56 to close at 10,560.10.

Broader indicators were mixed. The Nasdaq composite index, which ended last week down 9 percent, fell 29.54 to 2,615.75.

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 on Monday, fears about falling corporate profits were second to news about the election.

Stocks rose 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."

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

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

Nasdaq gainers Monday 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.

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