The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) doesn't know what to do today. With the presidential election tomorrow, Hurricane Sandy still causing problems in the Northeast, and the Institute for Supply Management's reported numbers missing economist estimates, the markets are overwhelmed with uncertainty. As of 1 p.m. EST, the index is at 13,074, down 19 points, or 0.15%. Most investors just want answers to their questions, and until they get them, the markets will likely be flat to negative.
So why are they down?
The world's largest oil company, ExxonMobil, is trading lower by 0.4% today. Although most of the Northeast now has power, long lines at gas stations in New York and New Jersey persist. Over the weekend, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie imposed fuel rationing. Customers need fuel but can't get it due to either a lack of the resource or stations without power. Whatever the reason, the big oil companies are not able to sell the usual volume of fuel. The next quarterly results will likely show its damage to the oil industry in lower revenue and earnings per share across the industry.
Shares of Coca-Cola are down 0.85% today after Bloomberg reported that the company had been hacked back in 2009 and never told shareholders. The FBI quietly told company executives that computer hackers had infiltrated their systems and had access to sensitive material. Information which was compromised was related to the possible acquisition of a Chinese beverage company. Coke has never released information about what was stolen or whether it had anything to do with the deal, but the purchase was blocked by Chinese officials days after the security breach was known.
Finally, UnitedHealth is down more than 2% today. With the Republican presidential candidate promising to repeal the Affordable Care Act, investors may be taking some money off the table. If Republicans take office, the risk of owning any health insurance company is higher than if the current administration remains in power. Some investors believe that no matter who is in office, UnitedHealth is a solid company, and due to its possible buyout of Brazil's Amil, the company is becoming more international and lowering its domestic dependence.
Matt Thalman has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of UnitedHealth Group and ExxonMobil. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend The Coca-Cola Company 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.