Another name is NRG Energy ( NRG), the largest independent power producer in the U.S. and a company focused on the transition to a sustainable, low carbon society through natural gas, electric vehicle infrastructure and enhanced oil recovery technology. I'm also very interested in PSEG ( PEG), a company bringing its forward-looking resiliency plan to Long Island, N.Y., as LIPA gets privatized. I'm excited about PSEG's development of solar energy and combined heat and power systems, which actually maintained power in areas of New Jersey during Sandy. Despite calls for a more active 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, there really hasn't been much to report on. But the cost of the recent U.S. government shutdown could rank comparably with Hurricane Andrew, the fifth-costliest Atlantic hurricane on record at $26.5 billion. A recent White House blog entry stated, "The government shutdown and debt limit brinksmanship have had a substantial negative impact on the economy." To put some numbers behind that ominous comment, Standard & Poor's believes the U.S. took "at least" a $24 billion financial hit from the government shutdown. Moody's believes U.S. GDP will be hit $23 billion.
Outside of the financial impact of this shutdown, there is a psychological factor that needs to be evaluated since many Americans are simply fed up with politicians (more than ever). This could weigh on consumer confidence, especially since the September figure of 79.7 also included a more pessimistic view of the labor market. Additionally, a new CNN/ORC International survey showed the general public's view of the economy is at its worst levels since last December, a time when the country was facing the fiscal cliff double whammy of tax increases and spending cuts. Again, while we can't ignore the true impact of the government shutdown, 2014 will be a true stock-pickers' market. By John Licata of Blue Phoenix in New York.At the time of publication, the author had no positions in the stocks mentioned. Follow @bluephoenixincThis article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.