Frankenstorm Is Battering Wall Street. Weather and Risk. Can't Manage One, but You Can the Other

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The last time the capital markets were closed during a work day --- an unscheduled closure --- was after September 11th. (Of course, the NYSE is trading electronically.) If your clients are long insurance companies, whoops! In European trading, bellwether insurers such as Travelers (Ticker: TRV), Alliance and Zurich Insurance Group (Ticker: ZURN) fell and, among the various sector indexes, insurance companies [as measured by the STOXX Eurooe 600 Index (SXXP)] were the worst performers ---- down 1.5%. Waves in New York Harbor are estimated to reach six to 11 feet today, well, that is if sustained winds coincide with high tide. Sixty million people may be affected by the upto 85-mile-per-hour winds.

According to Kinetic Analysis Corp., hurricane Sandy could cost the industry as much as $6.3 billion. Of course, insurance companies try to hedge their risk with derivatives and by selling securities to re-insurers, but what is a retail investor to do? Nothing, in my view. After talking with some FAs, who, as usual, prefer to remain anonymous, one cannot and should not try to trade around an Act of God (pro traders, naturally, like and sometimes succeed in day trading). FAs say the usual: A well-diversified portfolio invested for the long term is best. 

 

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