Why the Dow's Outpacing the Nasdaq This Morning

Ordinarily, people think of the stock market as one big unit that moves up and down with economic conditions and other big-picture influences. But with a huge number of ways you can slice and dice the overall market, looking at different cross-sections can give you different ideas about what's going on. This morning, the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) is down about 20 points as of 10:55 a.m. EST after being up most of the morning, but the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX: ^IXIC  ) has fallen 1.2% on an especially weak day for Apple, which fell 4.5%.

Among economic news this morning, a rise in factory orders was an unexpected positive for U.S. manufacturers. But private-sector employment numbers fell a bit shy of what economists were looking for, even as Hurricane Sandy's influence continues to be felt in the data.

Speaking of Sandy, Travelers (NYSE: TRV  ) came out this morning with estimates of its losses from the superstorm, and investors were pleased with the figures, sending shares up about 2.5%. Travelers believes it will lose $1.135 billion due to the storm, but that doesn't include offsetting reimbursements from reinsurance policies that the insurance carrier has to protect against major catastrophic events. After taking into account reinsurance and taxes, the net loss should be closer to $650 million. Travelers also said it would resume stock buybacks.

Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) also rose sharply, climbing 2.4% and surpassing the key $10 per-share level after rival Citigroup (NYSE: C  ) said it would cut 11,000 jobs in an attempt to cut costs and make its banking business more efficient. The move is the first major initiative from new CEO Michael Corbat, who replaced Vikram Pandit a couple of months ago after his unexpected resignation. Citi rose more than 4%, suggesting that the market sees the move as a good step and believes that B of A could follow from its example.

Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) , however, fell 1.1% as the FAA ordered inspections of its new 787 Dreamliner aircraft after finding fuel leaks related to a manufacturing defect. Following the emergency landing of a brand-new Dreamliner due to mechanical problem earlier this week, Boeing needs to act quickly to keep buyers excited about the new plane model.

An Apple a day...
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