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Minyanville's T3 Morning Market Call: Stocks Could Stagnate Leading Up to Election


Ahead of the presidential election, expect earnings today from Humana, International Continental Exchange, and Tesla Motors.

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US stock futures are hovering near the flatline Monday morning as investors anxiously await the results of Tuesday's presidential election. Much like you see ahead of a major Fed announcement, it's likely that traders will not look to place big bets before voters head to the polls. We could see the market stagnate over the next two days after the volatility of last week's shortened calendar. On Friday, we saw the market sell off sharply despite opening higher following a better-than-expected jobs report.

Analysts have been trying to make sense of the price action over the past few days, and it seems the action could suggest the expectation of an Obama victory. Strong economic data late last week left a positive taste in voters' mouths as they head to the polls, which would help Obama's cause, but his re-election -- coupled with a Republican-controlled Congress -- could make negotiating the fiscal cliff more difficult.

Economic data this week starts at 10 a.m. ET this morning with the ISM services survey. Last week, the ISM manufacturing survey rose slightly when analysts were predicting a decline. Coupled with better-than-expected consumer confidence and ADP private sector job gains, the data helped trigger a rally on Thursday. The meat of earnings season is behind us, but we will have reports today from Humana (NYSE:HUM), International Continental Exchange (NYSE:ICE), and Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA).

Traders will be watching Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) closely to see if the tech giant can recover from Friday's sharp sell-off. The underwhelming release of the new iPad mini -- in addition to a Barron's report that a rogue trader at Dick Bove-led Rochdale Securities was forced to unwind a large AAPL long position -- triggered a 3%+ sell-off in the stock on Friday. The fall has been precipitous for AAPL since it topped out above $700. AAPL put out a press release this morning saying that it has sold three million new fourth-generation iPads in three days, double the amount of third generation WiFi iPads sold in the same period. In addition, it seems the somewhat maligned iPad mini has been popular among consumers, with CEO Tim Cook saying the company has nearly sold out of those, as well.

Stocks making headlines last week for different reasons, such as Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), and Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM), will also be on traders' radars. Facebook will be looking to bounce back from selling induced by another IPO lock-up expiration; Netflix will be trying to build on the buzz created by Carl Icahn's purchase of a 5.4 million share stake; and RIM will look to continue its resuscitation amid anticipation of its new BlackBerry 10 operating system.

Life in New York is slowly starting to inch toward normalcy in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. While the storm may have permanently reshaped the New Jersey coastline, power has been restored to 80% of ConEd customers in New York City and subway tracks are gradually being re-opened.

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