What Does The Breaking News Desk Do When No News Breaks?

Answer: When's that!

In the news business, we know certain days will be generally slow. Today is a good example - the day before a three-day holiday weekend. But after brilliantly conceiving this as a theme for today’s blog, I had to interrupt the writing of this entry to get some breaking news on the air: A jury cut the $5B Valdez oil spill award against ExxonMobil in half. You can never relax. Not even on a slow Friday!

Stat Sheet: On the other hand, a slower day gives the Breaking News Desk a chance to help the shows with various market stat requests. “Street Signs” Anchor Erin Burnett wondered if I could confirm her suspicion that Altria had been the best Dow performer since the market peak in March 2000. I couldn’t immediately, but with a market database and an Excel spreadsheet, one can do wonders. Viewers saw the results of my handiwork during the 2pm hour, but in case you didn’t:

Altria is, indeed, the best Dow performer in that time span with a gain of nearly 500%. Caterpillar rose 261%, with Procter & Gamble third at 161%.

The worst performing Dow stocks over that time: Intel down almost 70%, followed by General Motors down 53.5%, and Home Depot, down 36%.

And thanks to Erin for asking me about the Dow 30 and NOT about the Russell 2000.

Happy Holidays from the CNBC Breaking News Desk!