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Stocks drop to close out storm-shortened week

But the Dow is down only 14 points for the week, easing concern that lingering damage from Sandy would weigh on share prices or the economy.

November 03, 2012|By Walter Hamilton, Los Angeles Times

Wall Street may have been walloped by super storm Sandy, but the stock market wasn't.

Despite a two-day suspension of trading, the stock market closed out the storm-shortened week Friday roughly even with the previous week, easing concern that lingering damage from Sandy would weigh heavily on shares prices or the U.S. economy.

With investors positioning their portfolios in advance of Tuesday's election, the Dow Jones industrial average slipped 139.46 points, or 1.1%, to 13,093.16. That reversed its 136-point gain Thursday amid encouraging reports on consumer confidence and manufacturing.

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For the week, the Dow was off 14 points. The market reopened Wednesday after being closed Monday and Tuesday while Sandy roared through the East Coast.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index declined 13.39 points, or 0.9%, to 1,414,20. For the week, it rose a bit more than 2 points, or 0.2%.

Stocks rose initially Friday after the government reported that the U.S. added a better-than-expected 171,000 jobs in October. But share prices soon began a steady descent into the closing bell.

Investors are jittery in advance of the presidential election, said John Bollinger, head of Bollinger Capital Management in Manhattan Beach.

"What we're seeing more than anything else is people trying to sort out what the effects of the election are going to be," Bollinger said. "People are getting a whiff that Obama might eke out a victory, and the market doesn't like that. It looks at that and says, 'It's more of the same.'"

Stocks directly affected by Sandy, such as insurers and telecom companies, slid as investors try to decipher their financial exposure.

American International Group Inc. fell 7.2%, Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. skidded 3% and Allstate Corp. was off 1.3%.

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