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Monday, September 11, 2017

Although the greatest fears of those closely watching Hurricane Irma as it approached the Florida coast — the West coast, Gulf of Mexico side, as opposed to a direct hit on Miami Beach and complete engulfment of the entire state — were better than anticipated, we’ll still be looking at massive rescue and clean-up efforts that will face enormous risk of human life and other sacrifices over the coming weeks. To put a rough dollar-sign on it, AccuWeather reportedly sees a $290 billion price tag between both Hurricanes Harvey (in the Houston, TX area) and Irma, which came only weeks apart from one another.

In the trading world, that Irma did not pack the doomsday demolition that many people fretted is showing up already in things like prices of orange juice, which has fallen from its late-week spike ahead of Irma touching the continental U.S. Also, the infrastructure damage we’ve seen through much of south Florida has been surprisingly positive initially — hopefully a positive sign for REITs and insurance companies — especially compared to the small Caribbean islands that faced the fiercest winds and storm surges of Irma, leaving devastating images of tragedy and loss in its wake.

Here we are on a new September 11th, seeing again a strong swell of rescue missions from first-responders that both race the heart and exhilarate American pride. The unhesitating compassion U.S. citizens have shown in helping — whether by volunteer back-work or generous monetary contributions — to bring back these still-great but heavily-damaged regions of this country is reminiscent of the first-responders of the September 11th attacks in 2001. Skyscrapers tumbling into rubble as rescuers fearlessly brought as many people to safety as possible, these tragic events conjure touchstone moments of togetherness in this country we don’t often see any more.

For sure, damages from these storms — Irma which keeps going, though downgraded to a tropical storm — will be enormous. Now without a debt-ceiling controversy with regard to revenues needed for continued rescue and salvage efforts, even President Trump and Democrats in Congress could, at least for a moment, join together in more strongly thwarting a dangerous foe.

We’re about a month away from Q3 earnings season, although a few key companies’ reports — like FedEx (FDX - Free Report) and Nike (NKE - Free Report) — will come out sooner than that. Tropical Storm Irma continues to dominate today’s headlines, and not threats of nuclear war or fresh outrages from Washington DC. Terrible and tragic as this storm’s aftermath no doubt will be for thousands of people, overall the U.S. stands to grow stronger from it.

Mark Vickery
Senior Editor

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