Overall, the stock market had a relatively calm day today, as investors largely were in wait-and-see mode with important employment numbers due out tomorrow. With no new news on the fiscal cliff negotiations, a rebound in tech stocks helped lead the markets higher, with the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES:^DJI) finishing up about 40 points.
Yet, those gains would have been more impressive if it hadn't been for a few losing stocks. Travelers (NYSE:TRV) lost just half a percent but, on a point basis, it contributed the biggest drag on the Dow today due to the Dow's price-weighted formula. To put the move into context, however, you have to know that Travelers' stock jumped almost 5% yesterday, after the insurance company gave its damage estimates from Hurricane Sandy. In that light, a half-percent give-back is insubstantial, and shows that investors are still pleased about modest losses that won't endanger the company's long-term prospects.
AT&T (NYSE:T) had the biggest percentage drop, falling about three-quarters of a percent. The wireless carrier got the bad news that it will likely have even more competition in the lucrative iPhone market, as T-Mobile announced a deal with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) to offer its devices to customers. Interestingly, the move didn't hold back other telecom companies, but with AT&T having been the first company to offer iPhones, it makes sense that any change in the competitive landscape would affect it the most.
Finally, UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) lost a third of a percent today. As Fool contributor Dan Carroll noted yesterday, the newest member of the Dow was the only insurance carrier to post growth in net margins, and UnitedHealth has done a better job of attracting new members. That's likely to become increasingly important when health-care reform laws take full effect, pulling millions of new potential customers into the insurance pool.
Fool contributor Dan Caplinger owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Apple and UnitedHealth Group. 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.