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Stocks Finish Mixed After Two-Day Sandy Shutdown

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stocks fluctuated Wednesday afternoon during the first full day of trading since Hurricane Sandy forced a historic two-day shutdown of major U.S. markets.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 11 points, or 0.08%, to 13,096 on its first day of trading since Oct. 26. The Blue Chip index traded as high as 13,189 and as low as 13,052.

Breadth within the Dow was mostly negative, as losers were ahead of winners 19 to 11.

Decliners for the Dow included Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Intel (INTC), Pfizer (PFE) and Walt Disney (DIS).

Walt Disney announced Tuesday an agreement to acquire Lucasfilm, the maker of the "Star Wars" movies, for $4.05 billion. Shares of the company dipped 1.9% on Wednesday.

Travelers (TRV) was another Dow loser as investors contemplated the hit the company could take in the wake of the hurricane. Shares were off 0.92%

The biggest gainers included Home Depot (HD), JP Morgan (JPM), Bank of America (BAC) and Microsoft (MSFT).

Home Depot shares added 2.2% as the market anticipated upside in home-improvement retailers after Sandy.

Advancers zipped ahead of decliners in the late afternoon by a 1.4-to-1 ratio on the Big Board, and 1.2-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq. Volume at the NYSE was 3.54 billion shares, while it was 1.80 billion on the Nasdaq.

The S&P 500 added less than 1 point, or 0.02%, to 1412. The Nasdaq dipped 11 points, or 0.36%, to 2977.

Though the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq remained shuttered Monday and Tuesday, stock futures continued to trade both days.

"The SEC gets bashed a lot, but it made the right decision to coordinate the market closures," Robert Battalio, a finance professor at University of Notre Dame, wrote in an email. "Closing the exchange means there were a lot of bad trades that didn't happen. ... Computers can't be programmed for every contingency; there is still a need for people to 'babysit' trading."

Automaker General Motors (GM) said profit fell in the third quarter from a year earlier but topped analysts' estimates.

GM posted adjusted profit of 93 cents a share. Analysts were expecting 60 cents a share. Revenue rose 2% to $37.6 billion. Analysts had estimated $35.9 billion.Shares of GM popped 9.5%.

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