* Services sector growth slightly slower than forecast
* Transocean shares rise after results
* Dow off 0.36 pct, S&P down 0.38 pct, Nasdaq off 0.09 pct
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, Nov 5 U.S. stocks slipped in low
volume on Monday as traders awaited Tuesday's U.S. election to
place bets on sectors seen performing better under one or the
other political party.
Democratic President Barack Obama and his challenger,
Republican Mitt Romney, sprinted through key states on the last
day of the race for the White House. Investors also eyed
congressional races to gauge how the United States will deal
with the $600 billion in spending cuts and tax hikes that could
kick in next year and send the economy reeling.
"People are pausing ahead of the election and what that
means for the fiscal cliff," said Jim Paulsen, chief investment
officer at Wells Capital Management in Minneapolis.
Leading world economies pressed the United States on Sunday
to act decisively to avert the fiscal cliff, calling it the
biggest short-term threat to global growth.
The market's reaction to data showing the pace of growth in
the U.S. services sector slowed modestly in October was muted.
Data from the Institute for Supply Management showed new orders
slipped, but employment improved.
Paulsen said economic data could soon start to show the
impact of superstorm Sandy on the economy after battering the
A week after Sandy wreaked havoc on New York City and the
surrounding area, close to 2 million people still have no power
as cold weather sets in. On Sunday 30,000 to 40,000 people in
New York City were in need of shelter.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 47 points, or
0.36 percent, to 13,046.16. The S&P 500 dropped 5.43
points, or 0.38 percent, at 1,408.77. The Nasdaq Composite
was down 2.82 points, or 0.09 percent, at 2,979.31.
Transocean Ltd reported a
higher-than-expected adjusted profit for the third quarter and
its shares were up 5.4 percent at $48.55.
Stifel Financial Corp shares gained 1.9 percent to
$32.50. KBW Inc climbed 7.3 percent to $17.49 after
Stifel said it would buy the smaller rival in a cash-and-stock
deal valued at about $575 million to form an investment bank
focused on the financial services industry.
A private survey of China's growing services sector slipped
in October, with weaker-than-expected new orders injecting a
note of caution after three previous PMI surveys for October
showed the world's second-largest economy regaining momentum.
Greece's government will present a new austerity package to
parliament on Monday, facing a week of strikes and protests over
proposals which must win deputies' approval if the country is to
secure more aid and stave off bankruptcy.