After being closed for a second straight day today because of Hurricane Sandy, the major exchanges will be open for business as usual tomorrow. Rumors that the NYSE floor was flooded with 3 feet of water last night were unfounded, and major indexes such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) will be back in full force. Here are a few trends you should watch for as the markets reopen tomorrow.
Airlines will struggle
Airline companies will probably be poor performers from the start Wednesday. As many as 16,000 flights had to be cancelled in the Atlantic region over the past several days because of Sandy, and US Airways Group (UNKNOWN:LCC.DL) may not resume flights at some major East Coast hubs until Wednesday. Other airlines, including Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) have said they will resume operations as soon as Tuesday evening.
Not only did airlines lose revenues from flight delays and cancellations, but they're also waiving fees associated with changes in flight plans because of the storm and may be forced to pay crews extra if they were stranded because of the weather. Add to that the specter of rising fuel prices in the coming weeks, and you have events that one Reuters report said could cost the industry "hundreds of millions of dollars."
Watch for (earnings-related) volatility
With the unexpected two extra days for investors to ruminate on company news, the economy, and the effects of Hurricane Sandy, expect higher-than-average volatility tomorrow. Some volatility is also to be expected from companies that reported quarterly results today or yesterday, in addition to those that pushed back results because of the weather.
Industrial giant Cummins (NYSE:CMI) was forced to push back its third-quarter earnings report from Tuesday until Wednesday morning because of weather concerns. Wall Street is expecting EPS of $1.92 for Cummins, which would be nearly a 13% decline from the same period last year.
Other companies, including Ford (NYSE:F), decided not to delay their scheduled earnings calls. Perhaps Ford couldn't wait to tell investors its results, which were much better than expected. The outperformance was due largely to a great quarter in North America, where it was able to sell vehicles at much higher prices than it was a year ago. Much of Ford's recent success has also been due to the success of Ford's pickup trucks.
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