Investors Support Home Repair Companies in Wake of Hurricane Sandy

On its first day of trading following the two-day shutdown caused by Hurricane Sandy, Wall Street closed relatively unchanged on Wednesday, with the Dow Jones losing 10.75 points (0.08 percent) to close at 13,096.46, the Standard and Poor’s 500 climbing 0.22 points (0.02 percent) to close at 1,412.16 and the Nasdaq Composite Index losing 10.72 points (0.36 percent) to close at 2,977.23. The shutdown was reportedly the first multi-day weather related closure of the New York Stock Exchange since 1888, and traders made their way to the exchange in the early hours of the morning keen to set the wheels of trade in motion again.

With 6.3 billion shares processed on the New York Stock Exchange, NYSE MKT and Nasdaq, Wednesday’s trading volume was average, taking into account that the daily trading average for 2012 has been 6.51 billion shares. Jersey City-based market maker giant Knight Capital, had power issues when their backup generators failed and were forced to tell clients to send their buy and sell orders to other brokerages.

As may have been expected, investors moved to buy stocks of companies that are likely to benefit from home repairs and other factors relating to the disaster. Generac Holdings, manufacturers of generators, saw its shares climb by 20 percent to $34, noting with their reported earnings Tuesday evening that the increased demand for home generators is likely to result in their earnings for the rest of 2012 being better than initially forecast. Other companies supported by investors included Home Depot with an increase of 2.2 percent to $61.38 per share, with Lowe’s climbing 3.3 percent to $32.38.

Other notable stock market movers included Ford with an 8.2 percent increase to $11.16 driven by its strong results, with rivals General Motors reporting better than expected earnings that pushed its shares up to $25.50, being an increase of 9.5 percent. Management changes at Apple earlier in the week may have contributed to its stock falling 1.4 percent to $595.32, while social media company Facebook experienced a 3.8 percent drop to $21.11 following the end of the lockup period which had prohibited some employees selling their stock.