Here's how stocks perform as hurricanes bear down – MarketWatch

Could the potential “once in a lifetime” storm blow out your portfolio?

Probably not, suggests our call of the day, from CFRA’s Sam Stovall.

“History says that hurricanes typically don’t trigger broad market declines,” the chief investment strategist writes in a note.

“During the 15 most expensive hurricanes, the S&P 500 declined by 0.2% the month after the hurricane formed, and was 3.9% higher in the subsequent three months. Of course, there is no guarantee that history will repeat itself.”

As Hurricane Florence bears down on the Carolinas, it has been downgraded to a category two storm. Still, it remains powerful and deadly, packing 110-mph winds. Stovall notes “a potential storm surge of up to 50 miles inland” could wreak havoc.

Who can forget that massive wall of water that caused so much devastation as Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005?

CoreLogic estimates that the property damage from Florence could top $170 billion, Stovall also points out. That would exceed Katrina’s corresponding figure of $161 billion.

And the CFRA strategist highlights how sectors are making moves: “Home improvement and building supply stocks are moving higher, as airline and insurance stocks move lower.”

Among the insurers feeling pressure are Travelers TRV, +0.87% , Allstate ALL, +0.80% , Chubb CB, +0.83%  and Berkshire Hathaway BRK.A, +0.00% BRK.B, +0.15%  , according to J.P. Morgan. And restaurant stocks like Cracker Barrel CBRL, -0.26%  are also in the firing line.

On the other side, companies that offer goods and services needed in the run-up and aftermath of a storm may fare well, such as Home Depot HD, -1.09% Thor Industries THO, +0.38% , Avis CAR, -1.82% and United Rentals URI, +1.66% to name a few. Check out more companies that could get bumped higher here.

The market

The S&P SPX, +0.39%  , Dow DJIA, +0.45%  and Nasdaq COMP, +0.76%  are all moving higher in the early going.

Gold GCU8, +0.80% is up, while crude US:CLU8 is down after the IEA said OPEC oil production shot up last month. The dollar DXY, -0.34% is firming up.

Check out the Market Snapshot column for the latest action.

Europe SXXP, +0.25%  is mostly higher, after Asian markets ADOW, +1.06%  bounced back.

The chart

Inexplicably bored by U.S. markets?

It isn’t all in your head, says our chart of the day.

The S&P 500 has been stuck in a “low-volatility regime” since the summer, according to this Wall Street Journal report that features the below chart. The index hasn’t moved more than 1% in either direction in more than 50 days:

Read more: A stock-market bear signal is at a more-than-4-decade high, says Goldman

The buzz

The Bank of England, European Central Bank and Turkey’s central bank all are making policy decisions today. The BOE stood pat, as expected, along with the ECB, while Turkey’s institution hiked rates, rallying the battered lira USDTRY, -2.7551%  . A presser from ECB Pres. Mario Draghi has also been grabbing attention too.

Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan did the lira TRYUSD, +2.8332%  no favors this morning by calling for interest rate cuts. He also announced moves to prop up the lira by banning domestic sales in foreign currencies

Read: Case for dollar bulls intact ahead of central bank meetings

SurveyMonkey parent SVMK SVMK, +0.00%  plans to offer 13.5 million shares priced at $9 to $11 a pop for its Nasdaq debut. Meanwhile, China online services provider Meituan Dianping reportedly raised a whopping $4.2 billion from its Hong Kong IPO, priced near the top of its projected range.

On the trade front, the White House has invited China to another round of talks later this month aimed at averting fresh tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese exports.

AT&T T, -0.89%  has a plan to compete with Netflix NFLX, +0.04% , and it includes shifting more resources to HBO.

On the economic front, jobless claims fell slightly and consumer inflation rose again in August. The federal budget and a speech from Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic are also coming our way.

Read: This warning light indicates consumer sentiment could soon sour

The quote

Dimon vs. Trump.

“The problem with banker Jamie Dimon running for President is that he doesn’t have the aptitude or “smarts” & is a poor public speaker & nervous mess – otherwise he is wonderful. I’ve made a lot of bankers, and others, look much smarter than they are with my great economic policy!” —That was POTUS responding on Twitter to the CEO of J.P. Morgan JPM, +0.73%  , who said Wednesday that he could beat Trump in a 2020 fight for the presidency because he’s as “tough” and “smarter.”

Random reads

Nearly 13,000 migrant children are still in federal custody, says NYT.

“Designing Women” creator says Les Moonves put the brakes on her career.

Bob Woodward’s new book about Trump is selling like hot cakes.

For a second time this month, Russian bombers have buzzed near Alaska.

A gunman’s rampage leaves 6 people dead in Bakersfield.

Accused of murdering her husband: The author of “How to murder your husband.”

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