After the two-day hiatus, the markets were mixed today. Pent up demand helped the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) pop out of the gate this morning but, by midday, the index had turned negative. As the closing bell rang, the Dow sat at 13,096, down 10.75 points, or 0.08%. Nineteen of the Dow's 30 components closed in the red. This afternoon, I explained why Disney (NYSE:DIS), Boeing (NYSE:BA), and Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) were moving lower;Â now I'll explain the forces that caused Verizon (NYSE:VZ), AT&T (NYSE:T), and Travelers (NYSE:TRV) to drag the Dow down.
So why are they down?
Verizon and AT&T were both trading lower today. On Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission reported that Hurricane Sandy damaged cell phone towers in 10 states. The FCC claimed that roughly 25% of the towers in the storm's path needed service, and were not working properly. The majority of the disruptions were related to the Internet and cable TV, not wireless communications. Verizon's spokesman Tom Pica claimed that 94% of the company's cell sites were up and running.
All three of the major cellular providers were affected by the storm, and have reported that they were assessing the damages and working diligently to repair all equipment. Similar to the electric utilities, the communications companies will likely see negative impacts on their next earnings releases. Verizon's shares ended the day down 0.2%, while AT&T's shares lost 0.12%.
The hurricane has now come and gone, but it left billions of dollars of damage behind. Now, the big insurance companies will be putting out to reimburse losses related to the storm. An analyst from Morgan Stanley claims that Travelers, Allstate (NYSE:ALL), and Chubb (NYSE: CB) were the three insurers who will be affected the most by storm-related damages. The insured damages are now being estimated at $5 to $15 billion dollars. At the close of today's trading session, Travelers share price was lower by 0.87%, while Allstate ended down 0.42%, and Chubb's stock was cut by 1.26%.