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Which Stocks Go Up When a Hurricane Hits?

Stocks in this article: GNRC LOW HD SWY

That why I recently visited my local Lowe's (LOW), which is almost as ubiquitous as its competitor Home Depot (HD), which I also visited.

Shares of LOW look as good as the brisk amount of business the company is experiencing all over America (I'm on the West Coast and can only imagine how crowded the East Coast Lowe's locations have been over the past two weeks).

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Lowe's stock is selling at a little over 15 times forward earnings. With its 2% dividend, it will pay to own some shares while we wait for the latest quarterly report, expected Nov. 19.

Take a close look at the one-year chart below that demonstrates the correlation between the price of LOW's stock and the diluted quarterly earnings-per-share (year-over-year) results. You can tell that investors are anticipating a sharp, positive reversal in that category during the current quarter. LOW Chart LOW data by YCharts

One last thought on which stocks may benefit from Sandy. If 50 million people or more are going to lose electrical power, with major cities being plunged into darkness and sporadic chaos, scads of people will be stocking up on everything from flashlight batteries to beer to bags of ice.

Why, the average American might have emptied the shelves at their neighborhood Safeway (SWY) or Von's supermarket in anticipation of major supply disruptions. Have you noticed that SWY pays almost a 4.3% dividend representing a payout ratio of only 31% of earnings?

When I looked at Safeway's key financial statistics I was somewhat dismayed by its large total debt of $6.43 billion. Yet, it was good to see that as of its latest quarterly earnings date of Sept. 8, it had trailing-12-month operating cash flow of $1.67 billion and levered free cash flow of $593 million.

SWY's stock price is trading at a price-to-sales ratio of 0.09 and its price-to-earnings-to-growth, or PEG, ratio is a very modest 0.85. By those measures the stock is cheap. The company is well-represented in areas where Sandy is approaching, and I wouldn't be surprised to see bottom-line sales figures soar as a result of this rare meteorological calamity that is unfolding as I write.

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