Will Sandy's damage move the GDP needle?
At a certain level, a storm can affect gross domestic product. This time, the impact may be less than feared.
A bit bigger than Irene but not a Hurricane Andrew and certainly not a Katrina?
The initial reports, which are probably in the ballpark, are saying Sandy may have done as much as $20 billion in damage. To put that into perspective, last year's Irene was about $15 billion, Andrew was $55 billion, and Katrina came in at $108 billion.
Why do these numbers matter? Because at a certain level, a storm can move the gross domestic product needle, as Andrew did back in 1992 as a massive federal effort rebuilt thousands of homes in rapid fashion.
The Katrina response, while large, did not produce much of a bump, in part because it wasn't a simple private insurance and federal check infusion. But it did come close to wiping out a lot of insurers that simply hadn't laid off enough risk. That does not look to be the case, judging by the action in the large European reinsurers, which are trading as if this event will lead to higher premiums and more profitability.
Last year's Irene did produce the private-insurance-fed-check boost, but it didn't do much for stocks, and the usual suspects -- the insurers to the downside and the housing plays to the upside -- didn't move much.
What people have to remember is that the without-power stories do not affect the economy, even as they affect people's lives. The major economic impact to flooding is mold, and unless the wet wallboard is pulled immediately, there are long-term effects that can render a house uninhabitable.
But again, that doesn't produce a boost that would make you want to buy shares in any of the usual home improvement names.
I think right now the judgment will be that more businesses was lost than will be found and the stocks of companies with numbers that will be cut will readjust to new levels quickly.
Jim Cramer is a co-founder of TheStreet and contributes daily market commentary to the financial news network's sites. Follow his trades for Action Alerts PLUS, which Cramer co-manages as a charitable trust.
More from TheStreet.com
Earlier this month the Washington Post's Carol Leonnig reported that the former vice president's wealth is today estimated at $100 million, up from less than $2 million when he left government service on a salary of $181,400. How did he make this kind of money? It wasn't his share of the Nobel Peace Prize. Nor was it the book and movie proceeds from "An Inconvenient Truth."
Instead, as Ms. Leonnig reports, "Fourteen green-tech firms in which Gore invested received or directly benefited from more than $2.5 billion in loans, grants and tax breaks, part of President Obama's historic push to seed a U.S. renewable-energy industry with public money."
That's nice work if you can get it—at least if you're on the investment-management end of the deal. But what if you're on the worker-bee end?
The Post story mentions one of the beneficiaries of Mr. Gore's investment acumen, Milwaukee-based , which won a $299 million award from the federal government in 2009 to make electric-car batteries. Here's how that worked out:
"The company has dramatically scaled back, after executives concluded demand for electric cars was far lower than the administration forecast. The factory outfitted with stimulus funds is nearly idle, and plans to build a second plant have been postponed."
When the history of this administration is written, maybe someone will note the dissonance between the president's hip persona and his retro ideology. Here was a man who promised a "transformative" presidency. Yet when transformation came, it amounted to a two-pronged attempt to impose, from one side, a version of European social democracy by way of ObamaCare, and from the other side a version of Chinese state-directed "capitalism" by way of the stimulus.
As a political matter it may have been Mr. Obama's good luck that the bankruptcy of both models became obvious only after he had gotten his way legislatively on both. Yet the president's sagging fortunes have everything to do with his buying into an ideological enthusiasm too late. In a different age, Mr. Obama would have been the guy who went out and bought an Edsel. In this age, Mr. Obama is the guy demanding that you buy an Edsel, too. That car is today called the Volt.
Mr. Obama might still squeak by. He has, in addition to incumbency and a vestige of likability, the benefit of a challenger who only found his stride very late in the campaign. But a second term will mean four years of spent ideas packaged in shopworn rhetoric, to be shoved down the national throat by a president with nothing politically to lose.
Within the same week as he put down America for having grown soft and lazy (doing so between rounds of golf in Hawaii) President Obama has now focused his always constant derision for all things American by laying blame on American school kids – indicating they are almost from birth “falling behind” – thus Obama’s desire to radically reform the public school system. (that means he wants more funding for his school union friends of course)
Oh – and let us not forget that the Obama’s send their own kids to private school.
List of New York hurricanes encompasses 84 tropical or subtropical cyclones that have affected the state of New York since the 17th century. The state of New York is located along the East coast of the United States, in the Northeastern portion of the country. The strongest of these storms was the 1938 New England Hurricane, which struck Long Island as a Category 3 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. Killing more than 600 people, it was also the deadliest. Tropical cyclones have affected the state primarily in September but have also hit during every month of the hurricane season, June through November. Tropical cyclones rarely make landfall on the state, although it is common for remnants of tropical cyclones to produce heavy rainfall and flooding.
MORE ON MSN MONEY
Copyright © 2013 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Quotes are real-time for NASDAQ, NYSE and AMEX. See delay times for other exchanges.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Thomson Reuters (click for restrictions). Real-time quotes provided by BATS Exchange. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Interactive Data Real-Time Services. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by SIX Financial Information.
In the never-ending contest for sales, American carmakers are pulling ahead.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.
Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.
Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.