Massive Oil Spill to Impact Everybody: Will Stock Market Finally Re-Price?

 |  Includes: APC, BP, COP, SLW
by: Marc Courtenay

The ecosystem that constitutes the Gulf of Mexico is not alone in being sorely impacted by this horrendous disaster. We will all feel the pain in ways that will surprise many.

First some good news. Containment efforts are progressing full speed ahead. All parties involves are spending tens of millions of dollars to try to limit the spreading impact.

Some companies like Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE:APC) had insurance in place to help offset the expensive remedial projects that are taking place.

Speaking of APC, after the market closed they reported remarkably improved first-quarter results thanks to higher oil prices.

Anadarko, one of the nation's largest independent oil exploration and production companies, said it posted a profit for the three months ended March 31 as oil prices nearly doubled from a year ago. Natural gas prices were also higher.

The company's earnings release didn't mention the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill, which occurred as a result of a rig explosion on April 20. Anadarko has a 25 percent non-operating stake in the rig while BP PLC (NYSE:BP) operated the rig with a majority interest.

APC management said its sales volumes rose about 15 percent quarter over quarter, with improvements in all areas -- gas, oil and condensate, natural-gas liquids and the gathering, processing and marketing businesses.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, on average, predicted earnings of 42 cents a share on revenue of $2.68 billion. Such estimates typically exclude one-time items.

Anadarko raised its outlook for full-year sales volumes to a range of 230 million barrels of oil equivalent to 234 million barrels of oil equivalent. Previously, it was 226 million to 231 million barrels of oil equivalent.

Back to the calamitous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the after-effects are beyond imagination and will hit many of us in the wallet before too long.

According to an AP report yesterday,

The slick has forced the shutdown of the gulf's rich fishing grounds and could also spread to the busy shipping lanes at the mouth of the Mississippi River, tying up the cargo vessels that move millions of tons of fruit, rubber, grain, steel and other commodities and raw materials in and out of the nation's interior.

Though a total shutdown of the shipping lanes is unlikely, there could be long delays if vessels are forced to wait to have their oil-coated hulls power-washed to avoid contaminating the Mississippi.

Some cargo ships might choose to unload somewhere else in the U.S. That could drive up costs.

Let's say it gets real bad. It gets blocked off and they don't let anything in. They lose time, and they are very concerned about that," said river pilot Michael Lorino. "It's going to be very costly if they have to unload that cargo in another port and ship it back here because it was destined for here.

This reality, plus the news early Wednesday in Asia that China's stock market fell, sending the benchmark index to the lowest in seven months, could bring on the long-awaited correction in the U.S. stock market.

China's Shanghai Index plummeted after the central bank of China ordered banks to set aside more deposits as reserves for the third time this year. China needs to rein in credit to keep price increases in control even after the government raised the deposit reserve requirement ratio for financial institutions, the China Daily said today in an editorial.

Prices around the world, from oil to food to plastics are beginning to push higher and higher. Factor in the phenomenal deficit spending and the bail-out programs for both the American and European economies and the buying power for paper currencies looks dismal.

No wonder stocks like Silver Wheaton (NYSE:SLW) and ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) are hitting their 52-week high in pricing. Expect the same from a number of other precious metals and energy companies in the weeks ahead.

Sadly, the environment has suffered another blow. This spill is so bad that it is causing California Governator Schwarzenegger to rethink whether he will allow offshore drilling off the coast of his state.

Be prepared for this to trigger a series of "Black Swan" events that will allow the stock market to finally re-price after this massive run-up the past 3 months. It could also be the catalyst that causes many commodities, especially precious metals, to hit new all-time highs.

Disclosure: I'm currently long APC, SLW, and COP