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%.

Ford ( F) reported earnings on Tuesday that beat analysts' estimates thanks to strong U.S. sales that overshadowed weakening sales in Europe and soft profits in South America. Shares climbed 8.2%.

The FTSE 100 in London closed down 1.2%, as the DAX in Germany gave away earlier gains to finish off 0.33%. Japan's Nikkei average rose 0.98% overnight to close at 8,9281. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 1%.

Gold for December delivery added $7 to settle at $1,719.10 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, while December crude oil contracts increased 56 cents to close at $86.24 a barrel.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was rising 7/32, dropping the yield to 1.696%. The dollar was unchanged Wednesday, according to the U.S. dollar index.

In other corporate news, Knight Capital ( KCG), the market-making firm that lost some $440 million in an August trading glitch, shut down trading Wednesday because of an electrical outage. After dipping following the announcement, shares finished up 0.38%.

PVH ( PVH) agreed to buy Warnaco ( WRC) for some $2.9 billion, which would bring brands such as Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Speedo under one company.

Shares of PVH soared 20.2% on Wednesday. Warnaco shares rose 38.7% to $70.58.

MasterCard ( MA) posted a $772 million third-quarter profit, or $6.17a share, up 7.8% from $716 million a year earlier. Revenue increased to $1.92 billion. A consensus of analysts expected $5.92 a share on $1.94 billion revenue.

Shares of the credit card company added 1.8%.

Visa ( V) also reported quarterly net income of $1.7 billion at $2.47 a share. Shares of the credit card company were rising 1.6% in after hours trades. Shares closed in the regular session up 0.33%.

Allstate ( ALL), the largest American auto and home insurer traded publicly, reported that net income rose $723 million up from $175 million a year earlier. Operating income was $1.46 a share, which beat a Bloomberg survey of economists who expected $1.13. Shares of the company were up 1.8% in after hours trades, but had settled down 0.42% during intraday trading on Wednesday.

Apple ( AAPL) was having a rough day as shares slumped a day after the company announced that Scott Forstall, head of iOS, the mobile operating system, would be leaving the company. Apple's head of retail, John Browett, will also be leaving the company.

Shares lost 1.4%.

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn reported Wednesday that he held nearly a 10% stake in video streaming company Netflix ( NFLX). Shares of the company soared 13.9% on the news.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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