Investors on hold as election looms

November 5, 2012: 8:44 AM ET
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NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

U.S. stock futures hovered around breakeven on Monday, as investors hit the pause button ahead of the U.S. presidential election.

The latest CNN poll indicates a dead heat in the race for the White House, with 49% of likely voters questioned in support of President Obama and an equal amount saying they back former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

Investors are cautious ahead of the elections because the results will set the tone for the debate over how to address the fiscal cliff and the nation's growing debt levels. A survey by CNNMoney showed 60% of investment strategists and money managers agreed that the pending fiscal cliff poses a biggest threat to stock market, as Washington's failure to address the fiscal cliff -- the simultaneous onset of tax increases and spending cuts that will be triggered on Jan. 1 -- would push the country back into recession and drive unemployment higher.

Related: The election and your money

Though the election will garner the most attention this week, investors will continue to keep tabs on economic data and corporate earnings.

After the opening bell Monday, the Institute for Supply Management will release its service-sector index for October. The ISM Services Index is expected to come in at 55.0, down slightly from 55.1 in the month prior, according to a survey of analysts by Briefing.com.

In corporate news, Humana (HUM) posted earnings that beat analysts' expectations and also boosted its forecast for the year.

Time Warner Cable (TWC) earnings missed expectations, as the company lost 140,000 cable TV subscribers during the third quarter.

Transocean (RIG) shares edged higher in premarket trading after the world's largest offshore drilling rig contractor reported a better-than-expected profit for the third quarter.

Electric car maker Tesla (TSLA) reported mixed results. The company's quarterly loss widened from a year ago, and was wider than analysts were expecting. Tesla's revenue declined from a year earlier, but topped forecasts.

Stifel Financial (SF) said it would buy smaller rival bank KBW (KBW) in a deal valued at about $575 million.

Shares of Apple (AAPL) edged higher after the company said it sold 3 million iPads in the three days since it launched the new iPad mini and fourth generation iPad.

U.S. stocks sank Friday afternoon as investors shrugged off a better-than-expected October jobs report and grew wary ahead of the election.

Fear & Greed Index

Overseas, investors also continue to worry about the eurozone economy. European stocks were lower in afternoon trading. Britain's FTSE 100 and the DAX in Germany lost 0.6%, and France's CAC 40 dropped 1%.

Meanwhile, China's ruling Communist Party is preparing to shuffle its top ranks, an opaque process that will affect the country's economy and stability for years to come.

Asian markets ended slightly lower. The Shanghai Composite shed 0.1%, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong and Japan's Nikkei fell 0.5%.

Currencies and commodities: The dollar was higher against the euro and the British pound but fell slightly versus the Japanese yen.

Oil for December delivery rose 31 cents to $85.17 a barrel.

Gold futures for December delivery added $6 to $1,681.20 an ounce.

Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury edged higher, pushing the yield down to 1.69% from 1.73% late Friday.

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Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,884.51 79.71 0.45%
Nasdaq 4,765.80 0.42 0.01%
S&P 500 2,070.45 -0.20 -0.01%
Treasuries 2.18 0.01 0.32%
Data as of 11:14am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Gilead Sciences Inc 94.44 -14.01 -12.92%
Facebook Inc 81.64 1.76 2.20%
Bank of America Corp... 17.62 0.00 0.00%
Apple Inc 113.14 1.36 1.22%
Comcast Corp 57.44 0.27 0.47%
Data as of 11:01am ET