This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

How They (And You) Make Money Off Disasters

BOSTON ( MainStreet) -- Especially in light of fatalities in North Carolina and Virginia, it is painful for many to think disasters such as Hurricane Irene carry an upside.

That's not so for many people, from those grieving to those who lost homes or boats or face huge repair bills. Insurance companies similarly will lose.

But the reality is that one result, and possibly the only silver lining, will be much-needed work for contractors, carpenters and electricians needed to mitigate damage from wind and water. Such repair work and prevention would have been even greater had an earthquake the same week on the East Coast -- centered in unlucky Virginia -- been even stronger.

Another beneficiary of devastating weather are all those supermarkets and retailers who, in the run-up to this and other storms, clear their shelves of bottled water, duct tape and canned goods.

It's a truism: Tragedy and disaster hurt many, but can profit a few. Nature's fury, war and terrorism will always make some fortunes and boost returns for investors. Disease may sicken and kill us, but benefits hospitals, drug companies, insurers and those who invest in them.

Author Naomi Klein coined the phrase "disaster capitalism" to summarize the rush for profits amid catastrophe and war. In The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, she compares disasters and conflict with IPOs that set the stage for revenue. The declaration of war in Iraq meant money for support, security and reconstruction efforts contracted to private companies, many of whom lobbied for invasion leading to the ongoing conflict.

Is there a conflict for investors who profit from human misery?

Ultimately, that depends on one's own moral compass. Wall Street is always a dog-eat-dog world with consequences investors may not realize. A play on Apple (AAPL - Get Report) can be a bet against Samsung, Google (GOOG - Get Report) and Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report). An investment in Ford (F - Get Report) or JetBlue (JBLU - Get Report) can work against GM (GM - Get Report) and Southwest Airlines (LUV - Get Report). As one company falters in the shadow of another, is the investor role partly responsible for layoffs -- indirect pain, but pain nonetheless?

The following are ways some benefit from human misery and tragedy:
1 of 6

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
ATK $0.00 0.00%
SI $0.00 0.00%
URS $52.73 -2.71%
NSANY $17.78 0.00%
AIT $45.83 0.00%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,773.64 -57.12 -0.32%
S&P 500 2,065.30 -10.51 -0.51%
NASDAQ 4,775.3580 -29.9330 -0.62%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs