NEW YORK (AP) â€” Stocks fell in early trading Friday, with investors focusing on earnings while they uneasily waited for an end to the presidential election deadlock.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 119.44 at 10,714.81 in late morning trading.
Broader indicators were also lower. The Nasdaq composite index was off 98.65 at 3,101.70. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 16.40 to 1,383.74.
Puzzled about how to invest amidst the political uncertainty, investors have returned to their pre-election pattern of selling high-tech issues whose prospects for profits are poor. They've also been punishing non-tech stocks, particular those in the retailing sector, for disappointing earnings reports.
Analysts expect investors to do more selling than buying across sectors until the election outcome is sorted out, which is now expected to take at least until the end of next week.
``We are going to see quite a bit of weakness in the market until this is resolved. We are looking at a market that is looking for a leader,'' said Alan Ackerman, excutive vice president for Fahnestock & Co. ``With no immediate end in sight, my sense is that sellers will be busy bees over the next few sessions.''
Dell Computer was among the technology companies to stumble Friday, losing $5.06, or 18 percent, and selling at $23.31. Dell reported late Thursday it has cut its revenue outlook for the next fiscal year.
Analysts later downgraded Dell, along with computer chip maker Intel, which was down $3.69 at $37.69. Another chip maker, Sun Microsystems, fell $7.06 to $90.56.
Retailers, which have battled sluggish sales and inventory gluts, suffered again on Wall Street.
Gap lost $1, trading at $23.75. clothing retailer reported a 41 percent drop in third-quarter profits on Thursday.
Catalog retailer Land's End dropped $2.13, or 9 percent, to $21.90. On Thursday, it reported disappointing third-quarter earnings, missing analysts' forecasts by 5 cents.
Until the nation has a president-elect, analysts like Ackerman said trading volume will be lighter than normal.
Ackerman also said drug and energy stocks could fare slightly better than other sectors. Drug and health care stocks are often seen as a safe bet during uncertainty or a down market. Energy companies are also consider less risky, because they have more predictable earnings.
Health care and pharmaceutical stocks were mixed in early trading. Health insurer United Health Group fell 19 cents at $113.75, but Johnson & Johnson gained $1.38 at $94.94.
Exxon Mobil was up $1.06 at $90.06.
On Thursday, the Dow plummeted more than 180 points and the Nasdaq dropped 144 points in about 20 minutes when aides to Vice President Al Gore's campaign said there were major voting irregularities in Florida. Gore campaign chairman William Daley said the Democrats would seek a hand recount of the ballots cast in four counties and might seek a re-vote in the Palm Beach area.
Stocks recovered most of the ground and ended the previous session with moderate losses of 72 points for the Dow and 31 points for the Nasdaq.
Florida officials have said the recount, along with counting overseas ballots, will take until the end of next week. The Associated Press' unofficial ballot recount in shows a 327-vote lead for Texas Gov. George W. Bush.
The Russell 2000 index was down 8.13 at 487.20.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers by 2-to-1 on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume was 305.71 million shares, down from 336.91 million on Thursday.
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