5 Winter Weather Winners

In case you have been living in a cave or on a beach in the French Riviera and missed the news, the U.S. East Coast has experienced several severe snow storms so far this winter. Just this past week, the Philadelphia-D.C. corridor got walloped twice, and the New York City area was hit as well.

So what stocks stand to benefit (or suffer) from winter weather? In this installment of The Finance Professor , I'll list my blizzard winners. (See my list of winter weather losers here.)

Note that the weather's impact will differ from industry to industry. Benefits to some of these companies could be short-lived and should not be extrapolated to longer periods of time. On the other hand, a drop in same-store sales by 1% or 2% could have a significant impact on earnings, which might be reflected in revisions to analysts' estimates. As always, do your homework to ascertain the impact, if any, on each stock.

Winner 1: Hardware Stores

Many people didn't expect -- and some had never experienced before -- storms of the severity or duration that that have hit the East Coast recently. In stormy situations, especially the underprepared are in need such things as shovels, ice-melting pellets or salt, snow blowers and fireplace equipment. And the best place to find all of these items at once is a hardware store.

When it comes to hardware, the largest retailers are the two major home improvement stores, Home Depot ( HD) and Lowe's ( LOW). Normally, the winter is a slow season for these companies. These storms are likely to boost sales in an otherwise off-season.

Winner 2: Staples

Before the storm hit, I sent two of my children to Costco ( COST) to stock up on staples -- milk, orange juice, bread, frozen foods, paper goods. Of course, they came home with a few other items -- soda and cookies -- to enjoy while we were bunkered down for a few days.

My kids were not alone. Plenty of other people flocked to Costco and its peers, BJ's Wholesale ( BJ) and Wal-Mart's ( WMT) Sam's Club, to stock up on staples.

Winner 3: Weather Coverage

This season, people have been particularly focused on -- obsessed with, even -- the weather. Usually GE ( GE)-owned NBC Universal's Weather Channel is a quick flick of the remote control before surfing to another channel, but in times of extreme weather fascination, it becomes must-see TV.

Those not watching The Weather Channel are likely finding out about the weather online at Web sites such Yahoo! ( YHOO) Weather.

Winner 4: On-Demand Movies

The millions of adults home from work and children home from school for snow days had to find something to do with the extra free time at home. Going to the movies or renting one at Blockbuster ( BBI) is a transportation hassle preferably avoided, but watching "Spongebob Squarepants" one more time could cause a cerebral hemorrhage.

That's where movies on demand come in to save the day. I'd bet that midweek on-demand rentals increased dramatically during the storms. And who benefits from those rentals? Take a look at Verizon ( VZ) or Time Warner ( TWX).

Winner 5: Internet

Another bet I'd be willing to make is that Internet traffic also increases during snow-ins, with more people Googling on Google ( GOOG), Twittering, Facebooking or online-shopping.

See more: 5 Winter Weather Losers


At the time of publication, Rothbort was long Verizon, Google and Ruby Tuesday, although positions can change at any time.

Scott Rothbort has over 25 years of experience in the financial services industry. He is the Founder and President of LakeView Asset Management, a registered investment advisor specializing in customized separate account management for high net worth individuals. In addition, he is the founder of TheFinanceProfessor.com, an educational social networking site; and, publisher of The LakeView Restaurant & Food Chain Report. Rothbort is also a Term Professor of Finance at Seton Hall University's Stillman School of Business, where he teaches courses in finance and economics. He is the Chief Market Strategist for The Stillman School of Business and the co-supervisor of the Center for Securities Trading and Analysis.

Mr. Rothbort is a regular contributor to TheStreet.com's RealMoney Silver website and has frequently appeared as a professional guest on Bloomberg Radio, Bloomberg Television, Fox Business Network, CNBC Television, TheStreet.com TV and local television. As an expert in the field of derivatives and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), he frequently speaks at industry conferences. He is an ETF advisory board member for the Information Management Network, a global organizer of institutional finance and investment conferences. In addition, he is widely quoted in interviews in the printed press and on the internet.

Mr. Rothbort founded LakeView Asset Management in 2002. Prior to that, since 1991, he worked at Merrill Lynch, where he held a wide variety of senior-level management positions, including Business Director for the Global Equity Derivative Department, Global Director for Equity Swaps Trading and Risk Management, and Director for secured funding and collateral management for the Global Capital Markets Group and Corporate Treasury. Prior to working at Merrill Lynch, within the financial services industry, he worked for County Nat West Securities and Morgan Stanley, where he had international assignments in Tokyo, Hong Kong and London. He began his career working at Price Waterhouse from 1982 to 1984.

Mr. Rothbort received an M.B.A., majoring in Finance and International Business from the Stern School of Business, New York University, in 1992, and a B.Sc. in Economics, majoring in Accounting, from the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, in 1982. He is also a graduate of the prestigious Stuyvesant High School in New York City. Mr. Rothbort is married to Layni Horowitz Rothbort, a real estate attorney, and together they have five children.

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