After being shut for two days due to Hurricane Sandy, the markets were back open today with an active trading session, as investors reacted to the effects of the disaster and other news from earlier in the week. Estimates of the total damage from the storm are around $50 billion, and gasoline futures soared, as some refineries in the Northeast are still shut down.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) fluctuated back and forth during the day, and finished down 0.08%, or 11 points. Despite the apparently flat trading in the index, there were a number of strong movers in the index.
Not surprisingly, Home Depot (NYSE:HD) led the gainers, moving up 2.2%, as demand for home-improvement supplies should get a boost from the destruction wrought by Sandy. The big-box retailer opened nearly 5% higher, but came down over the course of the day, indicating that enthusiasm was perhaps overblown. Other construction-related stocks moved higher, as Lowe's gained 3.3%, and Owens Corning moved up 6.8%.
On the other side of the ledger, the market seemed to disapprove of Disney's (NYSE:DIS) decision to buy Lucasfilm, the owner of the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises, for $4 billion, as shares of the media titan finished down 1.9%.That expenditure is about 4.5% of Disney's market cap, and mirrors past decisions to acquire new content and characters as seen in its acquisition of Marvel. Disney has said it plans to release a Star Wars 7 movie in 2015.
Another big loser on the day was Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) Investors are apparently nervous about the drug maker's earnings report tomorrow, sending its shares down 2.2%. For the last time this quarter, Pfizer will have to absorb the year-over-year loss of its Lipitor patent, and analysts see EPS falling to $0. 53 from $0.62, despite an aggressive share buyback plan. Research and development costs have also been sharply curtailed, and the Viagra maker is now focused on more lucrative products, many of which are in oncology and immunology.
Looking ahead to the rest of the week, there's bound to be plenty of action, with the jobs report coming up Friday, and strong increase in October auto sales making news after hours. Of course, there's also the run-up to the election.
Pfizer may be going through tough times after the loss of Lipitor, but there's one young biotech that investors are excited about. It's called Arena Pharmaceuticals, and it's a clinical stage maker of oral drugs for a range of disease, including cardiovascular and central nervous system disorders. In a brand-new, premium report, our top health-care analyst breaks down Arena, and lets you know if this volatile stock could be the next pharmaceutical blockbuster. To get your copy of this valuable insight, just click right here.
Jeremy Bowman has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Walt Disney. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Walt Disney and The Home Depot. 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.
More from The Motley Fool
From Spreadsheets to Sticky Notes: 7 Strategies for Managing Your Job Search
No matter what your style is, we have the job search tip for you!
3 Tax Breaks for Homeowners
Homeowners have access to certain tax deductions that don't apply for renters -- and these tax breaks can add up to quite a sum.
IBM's Half-Decade Revenue Slump Is Officially Over
After 22 quarters, Big Blue is getting bigger once again.