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The markets were closed today.
On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) dropped about 1.32% to $85.14 per barrel. Precious metals were down, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) dropping to $1,710.10 per ounce, and Silver (NYSE:SLV) falling to $31.76.
Hurricane Sandy has forced the United States equity markets to close. The Securities and Exchange Commission reached an agreement with exchange regulators on Sunday night to close both the trading floor and electronic trading. Parts of New York City face mandatory evacuation and public transit is down, making it prohibitively difficult for traders and technicians to reach the floor. The decision was made to close electronic trading as well because of the massive complications involved with a partial closure.
Reports currently suggest that the markets will also be closed on Tuesday.
Already fighting with tough operational challenges, hurricane Sandy is beating on airline companies that are still trying to make a post-crisis turnaround. Between 6,800 and 9,000 flights have been cancelled because of the storm. Most notably, the three major airports in the New York metropolitan area — JFK, Newark, and LaGuardia – have cancelled all departures and arrivals.
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Major insurance companies, like so many of the customers they insure, are likely huddling and praying for minimal damage from the storm. Insurers like AIG Financial Products (NYSE:AIG), Allstate (NYSE:ALL), Travelers (NYSE:TRV), and others are at risk of taking significant stock hits as the result of investor unease surrounding the effects Sandy could have on the companies. Hurricane Katrina, for example, which ravaged the Gulf Coast area in 2005 and racked up $105 billion in damages and 1,833 deaths, sent Allstate shares falling from $58.27 per share to $54.53 per share in the month following the destruction.
Allstate has home owner’s insurance exposure of 13.8 percent to hurricane Sandy, and auto exposure of 15.5 percent. The Chubb Corporation (NYSE:CB) has 6.6 percent exposure for both its homeowners and commercial insurance units, and Travelers has 9.0 percent and 9.6 percent exposure in those respective categories.
All models of the iPad mini were sold out by early morning on Monday — three days into pre-orders — with Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) online store announcing delayed shipping times for its brand new smaller tablet. All versions of the tablet, in both black and white and in capacities ranging from 16 GB to 64 GB, are now advertised to ship in two weeks. While the white model sold out in about 20 minutes after the start of pre-orders last Friday, some of the stock lasted until 3 a.m. on Monday.
Consumers in the U.S. increased their spending in September by the fastest rate since February and at twice the rate of incomes rising, a sign of confidence in the economy. The U.S. Commerce Department announced on Monday that consumer household purchases increased 0.8 percent in September, while personal incomes rose 0.4 percent. Spending had risen 0.5 percent in August.
Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of the economy, but since growth remains limited and unemployment is still at high levels, the U.S. Federal Reserve is maintaining its plan to buy bonds and keep interest rates low.
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