The effects of Hurricane Sandy already have been felt on Wall St. as the major exchanges have elected to close today, and perhaps tomorrow. Much less certain is the damage the storm may do to the overall economy. The effects likely will be mixed.
Traffic to stores, restaurants and other some other retail outlets will be down. A notable exception will be stores that carry items people buy for hurricane emergencies. Food stores and hardware retailers will see a very large improvement in foot traffic. Among other big industries that could be hurt are the travel and leisure sectors. In the case of airlines, will people cancel trips or merely defer them? The overall price of gas and oil will rise because of refinery shut downs and slow transportation of gas, but those effects probably will last only a few days.
The industry that will be most badly battered is insurance. Claims certainly could rise into the billions of dollars. As for the balance of the economy in the region, it probably will recover quickly.
Douglas A. McIntyre