NEW YORK (CNNfn) - As investors shifted their attention to the upcoming presidential election, U.S. stocks scored a weekly win on Wall Street.|
Analysts said the tight presidential race raised the level of uncertainty and any added nuances just caused more investors to sit on the sidelines or take some cash off the table.
On Friday, the Dow Jones industrial average slipped as money shifted away from the blue chips and into some of the technology issues found on the Nasdaq composite index. But both indexes ended the week with gains.
Strong earnings from Qualcomm helped inspire investor confidence in the tech sector but investors were also playing it close to the vest and keeping some cash on the sidelines.
"The election is so important and the outcome is so unknown and the effect of it is so unknown that things are on knife edges out there," said Alan Kral, portfolio manager at Trevor Stewart Burton. "I know somebody will benefit but I just don't know who."
At least one analyst said investors should keep their focus on where specific companies are headed and bide their time until after the election.
"I think the main impact of the election has been a degree of uncertainty. Once we know who the president will be it will be very much like Y2K -- it will come and go," Phil Dow, stock market strategist at Dain Rauscher Wessels, told CNNfn's market coverage. "You have to focus on sales and earnings, and those have been pretty robust."
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 62.56 to 10,817.95 and the blue chip index ended the week 2.1 percent higher. The Nasdaq gained 22.55 to 3,451.57 and gained 5.3 percent for the week while the S&P 500 ended the week up 3.4 percent but fell 1.63 to 1,426.69.
Market breadth was negative. On the New York Stock Exchange, decliners beat advancers 1,413 to 1,335, as more than 992 million shares changed hands. Losers topped winner 2,055 to 1,831, on the Nasdaq as more than 1.7 billion shares were traded.
Dow takes a tumble
In other markets, Treasurys faltered. The dollar fell against the euro and the yen.
The Dow tumbled as investors showed some concerns about which leading presidential candidate will land in the White House after next Tuesday's balloting.
"I think the fact that the election is so close is having an effect on the Dow," said Bryan Piskorowski, market analyst with Prudential Securities. "It's (the race) so close here that little bits of nuances like a 24-year-old story on George W. Bush is having an effect on stocks."
In the latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup three-day tracking poll, taken before the DUI arrest revelation, Bush's lead over Vice President Al Gore was 4 percentage points, 47-43.
Among issues perceived as being "pro-Bush," Merck (MRK: Research, Estimates) shed $1.25 to $87.78, Philip Morris (MO: Research, Estimates) slid $1.19 to $35, J.P. Morgan (JPM: Research, Estimates) fell $3.44 to $161.50, and Microsoft (MSFT: Research, Estimates) dropped $2.06 to $68.25.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq stepped higher as buyers selectively sought value in technology stocks.Mary Burns, head of Nasdaq trading at Edward Jones, told CNNfn's market coverage that October's stock sell-off means bargain opportunities still exist. (248K WAV) (348K AIFF).
"The Nasdaq is just licking its wounds and trying to rebuild. There's a lot of cash on the sidelines and there's some mild buying here," agreed Piskorowski.
Leading the way, Qualcomm (QCOM: Research, Estimates) jumped $7.69 to $70.50 after posting fourth-quarter earnings of 25 cents a share, beating expectations by a penny.
Oracle (ORCL: Research, Estimates) gained 75 cents to $30.31 and Worldcom (WCOM: Research, Estimates) advanced 44 cents to $18.
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