(Reuters) - Shares of insurance and freight companies reacted as Hurricane Dorian crept toward the Florida coast on Friday, and the National Hurricane Center upgraded Dorian to a Category 3 storm on Friday afternoon.
The Miami-based National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane watch for the northwestern Bahamas, and said Dorian was likely to remain an extremely dangerous hurricane as it approaches Florida through the weekend.
Here are some stocks to keep an eye on as Hurricane Dorian gathers strength:
Climate risk consulting company Four Twenty Seven identified Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings NCLH.N, Royal Caribbean Cruises RCL.N and Carnival Corp CCL.N as having high relative exposure to the Florida region that could be affected by Dorian. Their shares were up between 0.1% and 0.9% on Friday.
Four Twenty Seven also flagged health insurer Humana HUM.N and NextEra Energy NEE.N, the parent company of Florida Power & Light Co, due to their exposure to the region. Their shares were up 1.4% and down 0.8%, respectively.
Shares in freight companies may gain after a destructive hurricane on bets they will see rising demand from businesses shipping in materials for rebuilding efforts. U.S. freight companies include USA Truck Inc USAK.O, last up 4%, XPO Logistics Inc XPO.N, last up 2%, Old Dominion Freight Line Inc ODFL.O, up 0.6%, JB Hunt Transport Services JBHT.O, up 1%.
Regional property insurers with exposure to Florida include United Insurance Holdings UIHC.O, HCI Group Inc HCI.N, Heritage Insurance Holdings HRTG.N, Fednat Holding Co FNHC.O and Universal Insurance Holdings Inc UVE.N. Fednat was down 2% on Friday and United Insurance was down 2%.
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.
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 Friday, 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 little changed overall. One exception was Beacon Roofing Supply Inc BECN.O, whose shares rose 2.8%.
Shares of Lowe's Companies Inc LOW.N were down 0.1% and Home Depot Inc HD.N was up 0.2% on Friday. Their stocks have benefited in the wake of previous hurricanes as homeowners made purchases to repair damage.
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, Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc HLT.N and Choice Hotels International Inc CHH.N were little changed on Friday, up as much as 0.3% and down as much as 0.1%.
GRAPHIC: Stocks to watch as Hurricane Dorian intensifies -
(This story has been refiled to fix reversed words in 5th paragraph)
Reporting by Sinead Carew, April Joyner, Suzanne Barlyn and Noel Randewich; Editing by Alden Bentley and Leslie Adler
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