Sandy's remnants have faded away into the Pennsylvania countryside, but millions of people are still feeling its effects. Nevertheless, investors who had been locked out of the U.S. markets for two days took the opportunity to create enough buying pressure to push the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI ) up about 20 points as of 10:45 a.m. EDT -- although that was off from a previous gain of 80 points, and the broader market was mixed.
As expected, Dow components related most closely to the hurricane drew investor attention. Home Depot (NYSE: HD ) soared 2% as investors bet that the storm's devastation would boost sales of building materials and necessities for home repair. On the other side of the coin, property and casualty insurer Travelers (NYSE: TRV ) fell 0.5% on concerns that losses will hurt its bottom line. Yet despite these short-term impacts, long-term investors shouldn't get caught up in the hurricane-stock hype and should instead focus on longer-lasting business effects.
Pfizer (NYSE: PFE ) fell almost 2% as investors prepare for its once-delayed earnings report tomorrow. The release was originally scheduled for Tuesday, but the hurricane prompted the New York City-headquartered company to push it back. The stock has a pretty low hurdle to jump, as analysts already expect a 15% decline in year-over-year revenue, with earnings per share slated to fall by nearly the same amount.
Finally, Disney (NYSE: DIS ) also fell nearly 2% after buying Star Wars giant Lucasfilm for more than $4 billion. The company will issue sole owner George Lucas 40 million shares as part of the deal. With a trio of sequels to the original Star Wars trilogy expected beginning in 2015, the questions for Disney will be whether this acquisition proves as successful as its pick-up of Marvel a few years ago.
Getting back to business
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