We're back! Well, most of us are.
The NYSE and Nasdaq are operational again today, and outside of a glitch at Knight (NYSE: KCG ) that shut down power for the market maker, the markets seem to be operating pretty normally. For the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) and S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC ) , that means stocks are back to moving sideways to slightly lower on the day. Near the end of trading, the Dow is down 0.03%, and the S&P 500 is up a mere 0.08% after early gains were lost on both indexes.
It should be no surprise that Dow component Home Depot (NYSE: HD ) and competitor Lowe's (NYSE: LOW ) are both up today. Home Depot is leading the Dow's winners, climbing 2.5%, while Lowe's has gained 3.1%. These companies will sell a lot of supplies to people rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy passed, and results should temporarily see a bump. The increased sales won't last long, though, and I would be leery of buying stocks like this on speculation about Sandy.
Disney (NYSE: DIS ) is at the other end of the Dow, dragging 2.2% lower after announcing it would buy Lucasfilm for $4 billion. The cash-and-stock deal will dilute shareholders, but it will also give the company access to profitable franchises Star Wars and Indiana Jones. The big question surrounds what the payoff is for Disney. The company has already announced it will make the final trilogy of Star Wars films starting in 2015, and we can certainly expect theme park rides based on them. But $4 billion is a steep price for those assets. For today, the market thinks it's too much.
Oil also rose slightly in trading today -- no surprise after Sandy hit the East Coast. The good news is that New Jersey isn't an energy hub the way Louisiana and Texas are, so the impact is minimal, and oil has only gone up 0.5% to just over $86 per barrel in trading today.
So far, the upcoming election hasn't swayed markets one way or the other, but the impact will be felt nonetheless. To find out how to play the election, check out our free report: "These Stocks Could Skyrocket After the 2012 Presidential Election." Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have competing visions for getting America back on track, but The Motley Fool will have you prepared to profit -- no matter who wins! Download your copy now, for free, and discover hidden ways to profit from the election.