By Geoffrey Smith
Investing.com -- U.S. stock markets opened lower again on Friday, on course for their worst week since March, on disappointment at quarterly earnings reports from Big Tech and continued unease about both the coronavirus pandemic and next week's presidential election.
By 9:40 AM ET (1340 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 102 points, or 0.4% at 26,557, while the S&P 500 was down 0.5% and the Nasdaq Composite was down 1.0%.
Among the biggest losers in early trading were Twitter stock, down 16.4% after its user growth slowed to a trickle in the third quarter, and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock, down 4.9% after reporting its steepest quarterly drop in iPhone sales in two years, although quarterly revenue and profit beat expectations.
At the other end of the scale, Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG) stock rose 5.8% to its highest in nearly two months after the Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) owner reported a sharp rebound in advertising revenue and promised to break out the results of its Cloud-hosting business. Life sciences company AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV) also rose 5.6% after reporting that the summer lull in the pandemic allowed its other businesses to flourish again.
Markets weren't noticeably reassured by data released earlier showing that U.S. personal spending and income both outstripped expectations in September. Incomes rose 0.9% on the month while spending rose 1.4%.
Big Oil stocks appeared to stop the rot with their quarterly earnings released earlier. Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) stock rose 0.3% after reporting a third-straight loss that was at least narrower than expected, while Chevron (NYSE:CVX) rose 0.9% after posting an unexpected profit.
Policy toward the oil and gas sector has helped to revive uncertainty over the election outcome this week, with indications that Democratic Party reservations about fracking are hurting the party's chances in key swing states such as Pennsylvania and also preventing any further advances for it in Texas, which had appeared to be 'in play' earlier in the campaign. While Democratic nominee Joe Biden is still widely projected by polling firms and prediction markets to win the White House, a narrower margin of victory raises the risk of the result being contested by President Donald Trump, who has already indicated he won't accept the result of the poll if he loses.
Elsewhere, Altria (NYSE:MO), the owner of Marlboro and other tobacco brands, saw its stock drop 1.8% after The Wall Street Journal reported that unlisted vaping company Juul Labs had written down its valuation to $10 billion. Altria had bought a 35% stake in the group at an overall valuation of $38 billion.