Analysts ponder Sandy's financial impact
The hurricane could help October retail sales, but some experts see a potential negative impact transportation and hotel stocks.
U.S. stock markets closed Monday as the Northeast braced for the full force of Hurricane Sandy's arrival. It is only the second time since 1985 that the American stock markets have closed on account of weather.
What kind of impact will Sandy have across other sectors? Analysts watching the storm’s approach are also watching and waiting to see.
"There's not going to be a lot of news that I think would otherwise be dramatically market-moving," he adds. "And also we ended (trading) with a whimper on Friday, too. So it wasn't really something that seemed like there was a lot of pent-up energy in there that had to go somewhere."
There's even a possibility Sandy could end up being beneficial, in terms of October retail sales figures.
Paul Walsh, vice-president of weather analytics for The Weather Channel, says the lead-up to the storm should actually help the usual suspects such as home-retail centers Home Depot (HD) and Lowe’s (LOW). Consumers had a weekend to prepare for the hurricane. And that preparation, he says, might actually create a retail bounce similar to what happened last year -- when the massive "Snowtober" storm paralyzed much of the northeastern U.S.
He also believes there were more shoppers in the mall this past weekend.
"I think there was probably a halo effect, because we're in fall," he says. "The predictions are that it's going to turn cold afterwards, so I think there was more benefit than would normally be in the middle of hurricane season, just simply because there's more people out shopping, and they were buying the things that they’re going to need."
But what's good for October may not be good for November. There's the potential of massive power outages in the highly populated Northeast during and after Sandy -- and those blackouts could last through the weekend, or even into the first several weeks of November, threatening that month’s sales figures.
FedEX (FDX) is also warning there might be delays in its ground and air shipments.
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