Hurricane Sandy's tumultuous passage through the East Coast left a muddled picture on Wall Street, bumping up stock for companies key to pre-storm prep and post-tempest reconstruction while tamping down others suffering from lost sales.
Stock exchanges reopened Wednesday after shutting down for two days to wait out the weather. After rising early in the day, stocks overall dropped into negative territory in midday trading.
Home Depot, which extended its weekend hours at its Northeast stores as residents rushed to buy supplies, enjoyed a 4.9% bump as its stock rose as high as $63 a share in morning trading. So far this year, the home improvement chain's stock has soared more than 40%.
Rival Lowe's saw a similar boost Wednesday, with its stock jumping as much as 4.5% to $32.79 a share. Generac Holdings, which makes backup power generators, reached $34.63 as trading progressed, delivering a 22.2% increase.
Insurance companies were less lucky. Allstate was briefly positive in morning trading but spent most of the day down, sliding as much 2% to $39.33 a share. The Travelers Cos. also suffered, dipping more than 2% to a low of $70.01 a share.
Some analysts expressed concern that storm cleanup could cut into Halloween candy sales as nervous parents and cautious authorities pushed back events scheduled on the spooky holiday.
On Wednesday, Hershey stock fell to $68.10 a share, a nearly 2% dip. Tootsie Roll Industries stock was also mostly negative.