Stocks of refiners and truckers jump on higher gasoline prices, need to rebuild after Harvey

  • Hurricane Harvey may not damage Houston as much as Katrina hurt New Orleans, but Seaport Global analysts say "the economic impact could be greater."
  • Refinery stocks are rising as gas prices increase against lower oil prices.
  • Ground transportation is also trending higher, and the firm says "all names" in the trucking sector should benefit from rebuilding efforts.
Aerial view of ship channel, Houston, Texas.
Buyenlarge | Getty Images
Aerial view of ship channel, Houston, Texas.

Refinery outages and shipping delays are mounting in Houston and Corpus Christi, Texas, but rising gasoline prices and the potential need for rebuilding efforts are driving some energy and transportation stocks higher.

"Hurricane Harvey in Texas could be the worst storm since Katrina in 2005," Seaport Global analyst Rhem Wood wrote in a note Monday. "Even if the damage is less than Katrina, the economic impact could be greater, in our view, due the size of the Houston metropolitan market."

Shares of PBF Energy rose more than 7 percent, as did shares of refiners Delek US Holdings and HollyFrontier. Valero was up nearly 2 percent in midday trading as supply disruptions pushed gasoline prices up more than 4 percent.

Seaport Global's energy analyst Robert Friedland says further disruption will improve refineries' "margins on other refining capacity" as the price of oil continues to decline.

Oil extraction-focused companies in Texas are being hit across the board. EOG Resources fell 1.9 percent, Apache fell 2.4 percent, and Chesapeake Energy fell 4.7 percent on Monday, while Sanchez Energy and WildHorse Resource Development each fell more than 5 percent.

Rains pounding Texas' Gulf coast continued to hold up major ports in Corpus Christi and Houston, which are both currently shut and may be so for several more days. Friedland highlighted Overseas Shipholding, up 2 percent, saying the tanker company could bring floating storage "roaring into the Gulf Coast after Harvey goes away."

Ground transportation is also trending higher, and Seaport Global says "all names" in the trucking sector should benefit from rebuilding efforts after the storm. Shares of both Knight Transportation and Swift Transportation are up 2 percent, and the firm say the storm may become "a major tailwind for carrier pricing in 2018."