Impacts can be severe when storms bear down on areas with dense populations. But while storms and other severe weather events can cause millions of dollars worth of damage to individuals and companies, there are some businesses that enjoy benefits. For example, engineering firms, hardware, and home improvement companies, and generator manufacturers often see revenue increases as a direct result of weather events.
While storms rarely result in long-term financial improvements, and companies shouldn't count on them to improve long-term revenue, a business increase during storm season can be enough to shift investor sentiment and cause a rally in stock values.
Home Improvement Companies
The Home Depot, Inc. (HD), Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (LOW), and Walmart (WMT) are three companies that may see an increase in business in a weather event's aftermath.
These big-box retailers have been top picks to buy ahead of a storm for the potential increase in stock value, as they can still see an increase in sales even if a weather event does not have a large impact. That's because they sell supplies that people need before a storm, including batteries, snow shovels, generators, and various building materials to prepare for the storm.
If the storm ends up being significant, these companies may see another sales increase in the aftermath as consumers purchase materials needed to clean up and rebuild.
Demand for generators increases if a storm results in major power losses. Generator manufacturers like Generac Holdings (GNRC) usually benefit from this. It's one of the top publicly traded manufacturers of home backup generators, and it was the first company to engineer affordable home standby generators. The company provides portable, residential, commercial and industrial generators that are in high demand if a weather event results in power outages.
Engineering companies often benefit from rebuilding efforts after major storms. These companies include AECOM (ACM) and Fluor Corp. (FLR). Both of them are major government contractors, which means they can potentially benefit from federal disaster relief.
In addition, Fluor has a diverse business including engineering, procurement, construction, fabrication and modularization, commissioning and maintenance, and project management services, all of which may see additional revenue following major storms.
AECOM's business is equally diverse, as it provides services for projects including highways, bridges, government and commercial buildings, water facilities, and power transmission and distribution.
Battery sales usually increase before storms are expected as consumers stock up on batteries to power their flashlights and radios.
When you think of household batteries, Panasonic Corporation (PCRFY) and Duracell Inc. may come to mind. Berkshire Hathaway acquired battery company Duracell from Proctor & Gamble in 2015 by buying all remaining shares.
Water Solution Companies
Clean water shortages can occur after a major storm hits, especially when flood water affects public drinking water. Companies that can test and treat water, as well as transport it, are needed and are often contracted by the government to help in these cases. One of the leaders in this area is Xylem (XYL), making it a company to watch during storm season.