Investing Before Or After A Natural Disaster

Matt Thalman - INO.com Contributor - ETFs


Similar to investing in "Sin Stocks," i.e., alcohol, tobacco, casino, weapons companies, investing with the mindset of making money before or after a natural disaster, such as a hurricane like Harvey that hit Texas a few weeks ago is often a touchy subject.

But, if you are someone who is alright with investing in this 'morally gray' area, or just want to learn about how others pursue it, together we can take a look at how it is accomplished and a few things to be aware of before deploying capital.

First, while every natural disaster can be incredibly devastating, hurricanes typically seem to account for the bulk of the damage here in the US. In most cases, they are the only real disasters which you can invest around because of their predictability, which gives investors a chance to make investments both before and after the disaster occurs.

Since hurricanes occur along the coast, and more often in the gulf coast region, the one industry they seem to affect is the oil industry. This is because a significant amount of oil is drilled for in the Gulf of Mexico and because a large number of the US's oil refineries and oil shipping ports are found in this region. Continue reading "Investing Before Or After A Natural Disaster"

The Debt Storm Is Coming

Matt Thalman - INO.com Contributor - ETFs


While we can debate until we are blue in the face the actual ins and outs of what causes recessions, most would agree that high debt loads play a significant role. If we look back at the 2008-2009 recession, this is very true. Or the dot.com bubble bursting, debt played a large role. Even go a little further back into history and look at the 1929 stock market crash and subsequent recession, mostly fueled by margin trading (investors trading with borrowed money, i.e., using debt to fuel larger trades).

At this point, not many people are talking about the United States current debt levels. Not only is the U.S. government's debt level out of control, but more importantly consumer debt levels are also out of control, and that is likely the more concerning issue.

When consumer debt gets out of hand, first we begin to see increased levels of defaults. That leads to reduced levels of credit as the institutions who lend credit begin to tighten their requirements to borrow. With less available credit, consumers begin spending less on discretionary purchases because they either can't get credit or have maxed out what credit they did possess. Lower spending leads to lower profitability for consumer facing companies, which then leads to a reduced number of jobs in those sectors. Continue reading "The Debt Storm Is Coming"