Sandy: Manageable Insurer Losses, but How About Lost Productivity?
Impact of Sandy: Bank of America/Merrill Lynch thinks Sandy could cut fourth-quarter gross domestic product by 0.8 percentage points, but notes that "natural disasters early in a quarter are usually offset by increased activity later in the quarter... ." We can see this in the increased volume activity in companies like Beacon Roofing Supply and Owens Corning and Armstrong World.
But how about the disastrous toll on properties in Long Island and New Jersey, and the lost productivity? On the New York Stock Exchange floor, and on trading desks around the city, the talk is of nightmare commutes of two hours or more ... one to two hour waits at the Lincoln Tunnel. (Read More: See CNBC's Complete Coverage of the Superstorm)
1. October retail sales: split personality. Hard to wrap your arms around this month. First half seemed solid, but second half was tough. Weather warmed up, apparel sales fell off, then the reports on Sandy coming a week ago definitely impacted sales — some for good, some not.
October same-store sales up 5 percent, a bit better than the 4.6 percent expectation.
One winner was Costco Wholesale up 7 percent, better than expected and would have benefited from Sandy. Many that would have benefited from Sandy only report on a quarterly basis, so no data from Wal-Mart Stores, Lumber Liquidators, or any of the dollar stores or grocers.