Following is an analysis of an impact of Hurricane Irene on some of the listed US companies.
Given the number of people affected by power outages due to Irene, there can be a meaningful boost to battery sales in the Northeastern US. Energizer Holdings (ENR), with a 38% market share of the total battery business in the US, is going to be the most likely beneficiary, according to Citi Investment Research analyst Wendy Nicholson.
Usually, hurricanes and bad weather adversely affect casual dining restaurants while potentially helping quick-service and fast-casual chains. Trends in the latter segments benefit as evacuees bolster the sales trends and delivery volumes rises as most of the people who are not evacuating stay in homes.
Two restaurant companies which are likely to be most negatively affected are Ruby Tuesday (NYSE:RT) and The Cheesecake Factory (NASDAQ:CAKE). Ruby Tuesday has 38% of its domestic units in all the states with East Coast exposure (~7% in North Carolina alone). The Cheesecake Factory will also have 20% of locations potentially affected.
Among the beneficiart QSR and fast casual chains are Panera Bread (NASDAQ:PNRA), Chipotle (NYSE:CMG) and Papa Jones (NASDAQ:PZZA). However, keep in mind that if there are long-term disruptions or material damages caused by a storm, it can mute any possible benefit.
In addition to hits taken by airline companies as they cancel flights, eastern railroads are likely to get impacted as seaborne trade to the East Coast and handling at port facilities is affected due to the hurricane. Irene has a potential to disrupt highly profitable export coal shipments, international intermodal, and a broad array of freight bound to/from densely populated metropolitan areas. Thus, I see a risk to topline and bottomline of Eastern rails Norfolk Southern (NYSE:NSC) and CSX Corp (NYSE:CSX). However, it is likely going to be a short term blip unless any substantial damage to the port infrastructure is caused.