Stocks Plummet On Election, Earnings Worries

Stocks plunged Friday on continued uncertainty over the outcome of the presidential election and disappointing earnings and guidance from Dell Computer.

The ISDEX dropped 27 to 553, its lowest level of the year, and the Nasdaq fell 171 to 3028, its lowest close of the year. The S&P 500 lost 34 to 1365, and the Dow plunged 231 to 10,602, led lower by concerns over Wal-Mart and Home Depot, which report earnings next week. Volume declined to 965 million shares on the NYSE and 1.7 billion shares on the Nasdaq. Decliners led by 19 to 8 on the NYSE and 28 to 10 on the Nasdaq. For earnings reports, visit our earnings calendar and reported earnings. For after hours quotes and news, visit our after hours trading site.

Broadcom was one of the few winners on the day, rising 3 9/16 to 166 a day after affirming analysts’ estimates. Ariba , down 2 11/16 to 100 7/16, was clinging to support.

Active Voice soared 4 3/16 to 19 1/8 on news that it will be acquired by Cisco Systems , which lost 3 to 50 1/4. Cisco will take a 2-cent charge on the deal.

The IPO of optical equipment company Luminent priced at $12, below the $13-$15 range, and ended the day unchanged.

Safeguard Scientifics lost 1 7/16 to 14 3/8 on a Robert W. Baird downgrade to Outperform from Strong Buy.

Juniper Networks continued to struggle, off 9 3/16 to 170 7/16. Technical note: The close below 174 breaks a broadening top on the stock, as previously noted, with downside potential to 120. A close above 180 would negate the breakdown.

America Online lost 2.54 to 50.50 after the Federal Trade Commission delayed a vote on the company’s merger with Time Warner by three weeks. The company and the FTC continue to disagree over cable network access issues.

Some technical comments on the market: Note: We are now including charts in the technical market commentary. If you can’t get the charts via the e-mail newsletter version, try this link:

The bullish falling wedge that we said at noontime was forming in the Nasdaq 100 was broken to the downside this afternoon, a bearish development. As we said a few days ago, the index’s breakdown out of a bear pennant gave it downside to 2700; we may yet see that level, and the Nasdaq may yet hit 2800, our target of last month. If those levels fail to hold, 2500 may be the final bottom, based on the 500-point trading ranges we are close to breaking down out of. That said, the indexes are very oversold and due for a bounce in the next day or two. Let’s hope it’s a strong one.

The S&P 500 pierced its 1994 logarithmic trendline at 1369 today, only the second time it’s done that, both times occurring in the last month. Not a good omen. If we close below that line by more than 2%, or 1335, we may have seen the end of the bull market.

The ISDEX is so far holding the 560 range, its fifth test of that line. The index also could be forming a broadening bottom; another touch of that lower line around 525 would not be out of the question. 500 should be strong support.

The Dow broke down out of a 250-point trading range today after failing at 11,000 repeatedly. That could carry the index to about 10,500.

Special report: For a f

ree introduction to technical chart patterns and an overview of this year’s action in the stock market, visit,1785,2571_500051,00.html.

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