Stocks mixed first day after storm hiatus

Traders returned to the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday, two days after the exchange shut down due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy. They acknowledge that minor issues remain, but not enough to disrupt trading. (Oct. 31)

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Stocks closed mixed Wednesday in their first session since superstorm Sandy forced a historic two-day shutdown of trading.

The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 10.75 points to 13,096.46. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose, but barely -- up 0.02 percent to 1,412.16.

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Investors were nervous that a flood of orders after two days of pent-up demand from customers might lead to volatile trading. But stock prices barely budged at the opening and stayed within a tight range throughout the day.

"It's been very smooth," Duncan Niederauer, CEO of NYSE Euronext, told CNBC shortly after the opening bell.

The last time the New York Stock Exchange closed for two consecutive days because of weather was during the Blizzard of 1888 -- 124 years ago. Since power was out in large parts of downtown Manhattan Wednesday, the trading floor had to be run on backup generators.

The Home Depot and Lowe's rose as investors anticipated more business for the home improvement chains as people make repairs following the storm.

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Among the losers were insurers Chubb, Allstate and Travelers, as investors worried they would suffer losses due to insurance claims.

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