Heat Wave Bullish for Death Investors

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- If you're not enjoying the summer heat wave, maybe you should be invested in death stocks.

That is more or less the message, anyway, from a recent Bank of America Merrill Lynch report on Service Corp. International ( SCI), the largest publicly-traded company in the "death care industry."

In a section entitled "Death rate update: Extreme weather could boost 3Q13," Bank of America analyst Robert Willoughby noted that U.S. deaths are up 6% year to date. Third quarter deaths, meanwhile, are up 2.8%.

"While the likely benefit to SCI is small, we note extreme heat events, such as those occurring throughout the U.S. over the past several weeks, have historically corresponded to an increase in observed heat related deaths," Willoughby wrote.

The benefit to Service Corp. may be small, but the words "heat wave updates," were included in the title of the report, so how small can it really be? Certainly not too small to make fun of, anyway.

But in case you're dead serious about this topic, as Merrill's analysts appear to be, you might consider a few other death stocks, like Hillenbrand ( HI), StoneMor Partners ( STON), Carriage Services ( CSV)and Matthews International ( MATW). And while you're at it, you might want to take a look at Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. ( SWHC) and Philip Morris International ( PM). Why rely on the heat when guns and cigarettes are so much more effective?

-- Written by Dan Freed in New York.

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Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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