This one's so big that it could move the needle for Caterpillar (CAT), and definitely for equipment renter United Rentals (URI).
I suspect that, over time, we will hear numbers being pumped for all of these companies as they furiously try to get the inventory where it is needed.
It's going to be rocky. It will be difficult just getting the contractors to the houses, or hiring contractors, given a labor shortage and the wipe-out of so many contractors' places of business. But this event will provide multiple quarters of growth, and it is growth in which you must invest during every fiscal-cliff dip over the next four to eight weeks as wrangling in the Capitol continues.
It's interesting, because the housing and construction business was just beginning to come back on its own; witness this morning's strong pending-home sales. But, layer on Sandy damage, and you get sharply better-than-expected quarters for companies that have been serial disappointers for ages. It's a major change, and one that will become the story for the first half of 2013.
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