Stocks mixed as market reopens for business after Sandy closure
U.S. stocks were mixed Wednesday morning as the markets reopened following a two-day closure due to Hurricane Sandy.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.5% and the S&P 500 gained 0.4% but the Nasdaq was little changed.


Volume was expected to be very high as the NYSE, Nasdaq and other markets execute their first trades after two unscheduled days in the dark. But with many Wall Street professionals away from their desks, the number of shares changing hands early Wednesday was relatively low .

"There is some pent-up demand to trade after being closed for two days, which can seem like an eternity," said Art Hogan, managing director at Lazard Capital Markets. "But you have to balance that with the fact that many folks are still not able to get back to work."

A few traders returned early Wednesday to the New York Stock Exchange in Lower Manhattan, where some of the worst flooding occurred, said Teddy Weisberg, president of Seaport Securities.

Speaking from the corner of Wall Street and Broad Street, Weisberg said the power was still out and phone service was spotty. The smell of diesel fuel was in the air from all the pumps crews were using to drain water from surrounding buildings, he added.

In a symbolic gesture, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg rang the opening bell.

"We're all systems go," said David Rovelli, managing director of U.S. equity trading at Canaccord Adams, who battled traffic to get to his office in mid-town Manhattan.

Rovelli said trading in certain stocks could be volatile as institutional investors close their books, but he expects volumes to be light. "A day like today you just sit on your hands," he said.

Trading could be choppy as many mutual funds and hedge funds close their books for the year. Wednesday marks the end of the month and is the final day of the fiscal year for many large institutional investors.

It's a day when many mutual fund managers will try to offset their capital gains with their losses to minimize distributions paid out to shareholders. However, some fund managers may have done much of their selling last week in anticipation of the storm.

"This was a pretty well advertised storm," said Hogan. "I think some of that work of closing the books might have been done last week.