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These Stocks Missed the Dow's Post-Sandy Surge

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Things are far from back to normal for millions of residents in the hard-hit Atlantic seaboard, with much of New Jersey and the New York metropolitan area looking to be without power for days or even weeks. Looking beyond the devastation, however, investors turned to signs that the economy was on more solid footing -- at least before the impact of Sandy is fully realized, which economist Mark Zandi estimates at $50 billion, ranking it among the most costly disasters in history. Nevertheless, gains in employment and consumer confidence bolstered the stock market on the first day of the month and, by the close, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI  ) finished up 136 points, while broader markets fared even better in percentage terms.

The vast majority of Dow stocks followed the average higher. But a few got left behind. Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT  ) was the big loser on the day, falling more than 2%. In its perpetual battle with online retail giant (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) , Wal-Mart is gearing up for its busiest season of the year. Yet, with Amazon today unveiling its Countdown to Black Friday deals campaign, the stakes are once again going up, and Wal-Mart will have to fight hard to compete.

Pfizer (NYSE: PFE  ) ended down 1.3%, after reporting earnings earlier today. As expected, the company's revenue plunged, as the company lost its patent protection on its blockbuster Lipitor drug. Despite attempts to maintain sales, generic versions are a lot cheaper, and the impact on Pfizer's overall financials was substantial. With no immediate recovery in sight, investors will have to worry until the company comes up with replacements for Lipitor's once-ample sales.

Finally, Travelers (NYSE: TRV  ) finished down 1%. The company, which models the financial impacts of natural disasters, doubled its estimate of insured losses related to Sandy to $20 billion. Although other estimates put insured losses at a lower level between $7 billion and $15 billion, few disagree that the storm will have a material impact on earnings for many insurance companies this quarter.

Surging higher
Amazon may not be in the Dow, but it is the disruptive force in the retail world right now. But, at its sky-high valuation, most investors are worried whether now's the time to buy Amazon. Find out whether you should pull the trigger or wait for a better deal by reading our new premium report, which provides in-depth analysis of the online retail giant, as well as a full year of free analyst updates to keep you informed as the company's story changes, so click here now to read more.

Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Dan Caplinger

Dan Caplinger has been a contract writer for the Motley Fool since 2006. As the Fool's Director of Investment Planning, Dan oversees much of the personal-finance and investment-planning content published daily on With a background as an estate-planning attorney and independent financial consultant, Dan's articles are based on more than 20 years of experience from all angles of the financial world.

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10/8/2015 4:29 PM
^DJI $17050.75 Up +138.46 +0.82%
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TRV $103.09 Up +0.92 +0.90%
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