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Environment

Factbox: U.S. stocks to watch as Hurricane Dorian threatens East Coast

(Reuters) - Shares of U.S. insurance companies rose on Tuesday while freight companies dipped as Hurricane Dorian was forecast to come “dangerously close” to Florida’s coast but not make a direct hit.

FILE PHOTO: A man boards up a business ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Dorian in Cocoa, Florida, U.S., September 1, 2019. REUTERS/Marco Bello

After hovering over the Bahamas for nearly 24 hours and killing at least five people, the storm weakened and was forecast to churn toward Florida by day’s end, before bringing its powerful winds and dangerous surf along the coasts of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

Here are some stocks to keep an eye on as Hurricane Dorian menaces the U.S. East Coast:

CRUISE LINES

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd NCLH.N, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd RCL.N and Carnival Corp CCL.N all fell about 2% after Dorian devastated parts of the Bahamas, a major cruise ship destination.

Climate risk consulting company Four Twenty Seven identified those cruise lines as having high relative exposure to the Florida region.

INSURANCE

Regional property insurers with exposure to Florida rallied as it appeared the state would escape the worst of the hurricane. Heritage Insurance Holdings Inc HRTG.N surged 7%, HCI Group Inc HCI.N and United Insurance Holdings Corp UIHC.O both jumped 6%, and Universal Insurance Holdings Inc UVE.N climbed 5%.

Populations have risen along the Atlantic Coast every year since 2000, despite increasing hurricane risks, according to AIR, a catastrophic risk management company. The total insured value of residential and commercial property in Florida’s coastal counties reached $3.6 trillion last year, up from $3.2 trillion in 2015.

FREIGHT Shares of freight companies have the potential to gain after destructive hurricanes on bets they may see rising demand from businesses shipping in materials for rebuilding efforts. Some U.S. freight stocks lost ground on Tuesday after climbing on Friday, when the hurricane was viewed as a greater threat to Florida. USA Truck Inc USAK.O and XPO Logistics Inc XPO.N both declined 3%, while Old Dominion Freight Line Inc ODFL.O and JB Hunt Transport Services Inc JBHT.O fell about 2%.

Also affecting sentiment for freight stocks, data showed U.S. factory activity contracted in August for the first time since 2016, renewing fears that the U.S.-China trade war could tip the world’s largest economy into recession.

BUILDING SUPPLIES Hurricanes have had mixed effects on shares of building products. In September 2018, as Hurricane Florence approached North Carolina, shares of roofing and insulation companies rose while shares of cement companies fell. On Tuesday, shares of building supply companies, including Owens Corning OC.N, Summit Materials Inc SUM.N, Martin Marietta Materials Inc MLM.N and Vulcan Materials Co VMC.N, were mixed.

HOME IMPROVEMENT

Shares of Lowe's Companies Inc LOW.N were down 0.4% and Home Depot Inc HD.N slipped 1.4% on Tuesday. Their stocks have benefited in the wake of previous hurricanes as homeowners made purchases to repair damage.

HOTELS

Shares of hotel operators have gained following previous hurricanes as demand from people displaced by hurricanes outweighed the hit from declines in tourism.

Hyatt Hotels Corp H.N, Marriott International Inc MAR.O and Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc HLT.N all fell more than 1% on Tuesday, while Choice Hotels International Inc CHH.N edged up 0.3%.

ENERGY

NextEra Energy Inc NEE.N, the parent company of Florida Power & Light Co, jumped 2.7%.

GRAPHIC: Stocks to watch as Dorian nears the U.S. East Coast -

Reporting by Noel Randewich; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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