by Marc Bastow | October 31, 2012 4:52 pm
Hurricane Sandy left the east coast early Tuesday but the storm’s impact was still felt on Wednesday. The markets reopened after two days of closure amid flood waters and with lower volume due to power outages.
The ending “price tag” for the event won’t be know for some time, and the long-term effect on stocks is also up for grabs. In the short term, though, the S&P 500 was the bright spot, gaining fractionally to 1,412.16. The the Dow fell almost that same fraction to 13,096.46, and the Nasdaq lost 0.36% to close at 2,977.23.
News from Europe opened the day with a report that unemployment in the eurozone rose to a record high of 11.6% in September. However, most of the trading and movement came from stocks set to benefit from the post-Sandy clean-up effort. Home improvement superstore Lowe’s (NYSE:LOW) saw a 3% jump while competitor Home Depot (NYSE:HD) rose just over 2% on the day.
Shares of Generac (NASDAQ:GNRC) soared 20% as the company enjoyed a “perfect storm.” Demand for generators increased in the wake of storm damages, while the company also released a strong earnings report.
Automotive stocks rose as General Motors (NYSE:GM) and Ford (NYSE:F) released earnings. GM reported lower quarterly earnings due to losses in Europe but still beat estimates, sending the stock upwards to the tune of 9% gains. Ford shares traded up over 8% on a steady report compared to last quarter.
Mastercard (NYSE:MA) also had a good day. The company reported earnings that beat estimates by nearly 25% and shares rose nearly 2% on the news.
On the down side, shares of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) ended under $600 per share on a drop of over 1% as a management shake-up cost two executives their positions at the company. Apple shares are down nearly 10% over the past month.
Shares of Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) traded down nearly 4% as the employee “lock-up” period expired and a total of 234 million Facebook shares were eligible for sale. Meanwhile Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) also tumbled — in this case over 8% on no specific news. The stock has lost nearly half its value since the beginning of the year.
Notable earnings releases for Thursday include Exxon (NYSE:XOM), Kellogg (NYSE:K), Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX).
Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing, he was long AAPL and XOM.
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