Post-Hurricane Woes Keep Today's Dow Flat

It's tough sledding for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI  ) today. As of 2:20 p.m. EST, the Dow has incurred minor losses of 0.29%. With the results of Hurricane Sandy's damages being felt among Wall Street, about half of the index's stocks are in the red -- led by one major retailer's earnings flop. It's a day where the Dow can't seem to decide if it wants to go up or down, but let's go around the markets to see who's gaining and who's losing.

Hurricane hits retail, communications
The Dow ended yesterday's bearish session in poor fashion, closing at its lowest point in months. Things aren't looking a whole lot better today as both the much-debated fiscal cliff and the impact of the recent hurricane weigh on the economy. Lazard Capital Markets market strategist Art Hogan summed things up succinctly, remarking, "To the extent we are continuing to see weakness in this marketplace, we're clearly focused on the storm damage to economic data and businesses."

The storm had pushed Home Depot (NYSE: HD  ) higher in the immediate aftermath of its impact, but the home improvement giant is only up a fraction of a percent today. The hurricane's effects hit other retailers much harder, although today's big retail losses come primarily from an earnings miss. Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT  ) fell short on revenue expectations despite beating earnings projections, and with the retail industry painting a gloomy picture of this year's fourth quarter, the stock has dropped 3.7% so far today.

Telecoms didn't fare much better, as both AT&T (NYSE: T  ) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) rank among the worst Dow laggards with losses of about 1% each. Both companies saw large sections of their networks temporarily knocked out by the hurricane, and though these areas are back online, shares have continued to sag.

Good day for the tech sector
Some of the Dow's members are reporting a brighter Thursday, however. The tech sector has had a good day so far, led higher by Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO  ) and its 2%-plus gains. The company reported strong earnings that crushed expectations yesterday, and with a similar positive quarterly report from competitor NetApp (Nasdaq: NTAP  ) , it's been a good few days for Cisco.

Fellow tech company Intel (Nasdaq: INTC  ) has also seen a decent day so far, as shares have risen 0.5%. Concerns have been mounting around the future of Intel's competitor AMD (NYSE: AMD  ) , and the chip maker has hit a new 52-week low. Even though the PC market continues to decline, Intel looks good compared to its waning rival.

Intel's doing alright today, and it has a dominant position in the semiconductor industry for PCs. However, that PC market is maturing, and Intel will find itself in a precarious long-term situation if it doesn't find new avenues for growth. In this premium research report on Intel, our analyst runs through all of the key topics investors should understand about the chip giant. Better yet, you'll continue to receive updates for an entire year. Click here now to learn more.

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