You can't talk about storms without mentioning the heartache of the loss and the bravery of those not afraid to lend a hand, often risking their lives doing so.
But you also have to think about the aftermath, at least if you are in the stock business, or, in this instance more important, the insurance business.
That's because you have to consider the insurance business, similar to the way you would consider the old U.S. government, one that would step in with billions of dollars to help you rebuild and buy a new car, or fix up your home.
Certainly, there will be state and federal help, and we will hear about that, no doubt, at the Caterpillar (CAT) analyst meeting on Tuesday. CAT will have more than its fair share of the rebuild in its stellar equipment, which we know will be so needed as part of the rebuild.
But it's the interruption of the decline in some very important business cycles that has me entranced about the opportunities here.
You see, there is a confluence of financial positives that abound from the terror and horror of these natural disasters. And while money can't make up for lives lost and injuries sustained, it will create a break in the decline of the auto business, as well as the housing industry.
It's simple. When you get flooding like we had in Texas, you are going to have perhaps hundreds of thousands of people shopping for new cars, all at once.
If you get storms that destroy houses with wind and rain, as is the case in Florida, you get checks to fix them up almost instantly.
Think about all the business that goes into a car. There are the metals, the plastics, the electronics -- think semiconductors -- and then all of the people who make and sell them. It's a huge industry, one that has multiple drivers that can spur an economy already OK into actual vibrancy.
Now, the Florida storms, mercifully, don't seem to have caused as much property damage as Texas. But take the insurance money that will come to Florida to fix houses and the personal spending that Texans will have to do to fix up their homes, and all I need to tell you is, think about every aisle in Home Depot HD and you will know the far-ranging nature of the business that will get done.
Tools, dry board, wood, screws and nails, windows, doors, roofing, you name it. Or you can just say Stanley Black & Decker (SWK) , Owens Corning (OC) , Beacon Roofing (BECN) , Honeywell (HON) , United Technologies (UTX) , and so many others.
Next thing you know, you have companies with stocks that were heavily shorted, because of the breakdown, say, of the auto cycle, being reborn: think Action Alerts PLUS charity portfolio holding Illinois Tool Works (ITW) . You have stocks like that of Norfolk Southern (NSC) or CSX Corporation (CSX) getting extra car loads no one in the investing business could see coming.
And, perhaps best of all, you have business being done without waiting for a trillion-dollar infrastructure program from Washington that's looking more and more like a pipe dream.
Maybe that's the real silver lining here. We aren't hanging on Washington's every word these days. If it takes an act of nature to make sure we don't, well, perhaps that's the one really good thing that comes in the aftermath of these godawful tragedies.