Stocks waterlogged by Sandy's mounting costs

A solid October jobs report could not keep US stocks from falling Friday. Consumer discretionary stocks had the narrowest loss.

Seth Wenig/AP/File
In this October 2012 file photo, a trader works on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in New York. Stocks fell sharply Friday on the heels of Superstorm Sandy.

Waterlogged from Superstorm Sandy and unmoved by a solid October jobs report, U.S. stocks fell sharply Friday. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 139 points as details about the storm's costs began to trickle out.

Verizon Communications, whose downtown Manhattan facilities are still without power, said the storm would have a "significant" effect on its fourth-quarter earnings. Verizon said it could not yet estimate the cost of the storm, which downed cell towers across the region. Its stock fell 62 cents to $44.52.

"The information coming out from the economic impact of Sandy is a negative," said Rob Lutts, president of Cabot Money Management in Salem, Massachusetts. "I think the markets are trying to digest that and understand that, so there is a little bit of uncertainty."

Insurers, the group that will feel the storm's effects most acutely, plunged en masse as analysts warned that the storm will eat into their income. Raymond James analysts lowered their estimates for Allstate; Barclays analysts cut theirs for Hartford Financial Services Group Inc.

The chairman of Hartford, Liam McGee, told investors on a conference call that the storm's costs are just beginning to come into focus. "It's much too early for us to provide data with any level of certainty," McGee said. He said it wasn't until Thursday that adjustors were able to view the damage to Long Island, one of the hardest-hit areas.

Hartford fell 66 cents, or 3 percent, to $21.26. Allstate dropped 49 cents to $38.56. American International Group Inc. plunged $2.52, or 7 percent, to $32.68. Genworth Financial Inc. dropped 16 cents, or 3 percent, to $6.06.

After a day of steady selling, the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 139.46 points, or 1.1 percent, at 13,093.16. The Standard & Poor's 500 index dropped 13.39, or 0.9 percent, at 1,414.20. The Nasdaq composite index lost 37.93 points, or 1.3 percent, to 2,982.13.

The day started with a burst of hope: In the last big piece of economic news before Tuesday's presidential election, the Labor Department said employers added 171,000 jobs last month, while the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9 percent. More jobs were added in the previous two months than was first reported, the government said.

European stocks rose on the news and U.S. stocks opened higher. The Dow gained as much as 57 points in the first half-hour of trading. After that, the indexes commenced a steady slide.

All ten categories in the S&P 500 were lower by the end of the day. Consumer discretionary stocks had the narrowest loss.

Internet travel sites priceline.com and TripAdvisor Inc. were among the S&P 500's top gainers. The companies surprised investors with better-than-expected third-quarter earnings after the market closed on Thursday. TripAdvisor rose $5.71, or 19 percent, to $35.12. Priceline added $48.64, or 8 percent, to $634.74.

Starbucks rounded out the S&P 500's top three gainers, adding $4.22, or 9 percent, to $50.84. The ubiquitous coffee vendor said late Thursday that global revenue at cafes open at least a year rose 6 percent during its fiscal fourth quarter, which runs from July through September.

Home decor retailer Restoration Hardware Holdings Inc. shot up $7.10, or 30 percent, to $31.10 in its first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Stocks waterlogged by Sandy's mounting costs
Read this article in
https://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Latest-News-Wires/2012/1102/Stocks-waterlogged-by-Sandy-s-mounting-costs
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today
https://www.csmonitor.com/subscribe