Stocks trade down; Sandy sinks insurers

A trader works on the floor at the

A trader works on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in Manhattan on Wednesday. The unemployment rate inched up to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent last month because the workforce grew. (Oct. 31, 2012) (Credit: AP)

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Waterlogged from superstorm Sandy and unmoved by a solid October jobs report, U.S. stocks fell sharply Friday. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 139 points as details about the storm's costs began to trickle out.

Insurers plunged on expectations that losses from the catastrophe will eat into their fourth-quarter earnings. AIG fell 5 percent, Genworth Financial and Arch Capital Group 4 percent and Hartford Financial Services Group 3 percent.

In the last big piece of economic news before Election Day, the Labor Department said employers added 171,000 jobs last month, while the jobless rate ticked up to 7.9 percent.

The Dow closed down 139.46 points at 13,093.16. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 0.94 percent to 1,414.20. The Nasdaq composite index fell 1.26 percent to 2,982.13.

Also suffering in Sandy's aftermath, Delta Air Lines said it lost $45 million in revenue last month because of flight cancellations during and after the storm.

And Verizon Communications Inc., whose downtown Manhattan facilities are still without power, said the storm would have a "significant" effect on fourth-quarter earnings. Its stock fell a 62 cents to $44.52.

-- AP

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