Why These 5 Stocks Are Heating Up on Winter Weather

Home Depot Inc (HD) and several other stocks are rallying as the Midwest and Northeast brace for Winter Storm Jonas

Jan 22, 2016 at 11:12 AM
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Winter Storm Jonas is looming large in the minds of investors, as large swaths of the U.S. brace for snow and sleet in the days ahead. The inclement weather is propping up crude today, as cold temperatures could drive demand for the commodity. A number of stocks are also benefiting from the threat of Jonas, a few of which we'll profile below. 

Retailers Home Depot Inc (NYSE:HD), Lowe's Companies, Inc. (NYSE:LOW), and Sears Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:SHLD) are all sharply higher this morning, with sales of shovels, salt, and other snow-removal equipment expected to be brisk. Digging deeper on HD, the stock has added 2.7% to trade at $123.47, and recently bounced from its 320-day moving average. This has been a very bullish signal in the past three years, averaging a 21-day return of 3.8% and positive 100% of the time.

Short-term option traders are set up to benefit from an ongoing rally in HD. The stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.72 ranks below 99% of comparable readings from the past year. In other words, traders targeting Home Depot Inc options expiring in the next three months have rarely been so call-skewed.

Even more impressive today has been Briggs & Stratton Corporation (NYSE:BGG), maker of engines for outdoor power equipment. The stock has tacked on a cool 4% to trade at $18.92, just a day after surging 8.5% on better-than-forecast quarterly earnings. Now, the shares are on track to close atop their 200-day moving average for the first time since late October.

Short sellers are likely in disbelief at BGG's furious two-day rally. A hefty 16.5% of the stock's float is sold short, representing over three weeks' worth of pent-up buying power, at typical volumes. As a result, Briggs & Stratton Corporation could see its breakout fueled as shorts begin to cover their losing positions.

One final stock worth highlighting is Douglas Dynamics Inc (NYSE:PLOW), which -- as you can probably infer from its ticker -- manufactures plows. The shares have shot 2.1% higher at $18.13, but haven't fared so well longer term. Since hitting an annual high of $24.48 in early November, PLOW has dropped 26%.

As such, short sellers have been building their positions in the stock. During the last reporting period, short interest on Douglas Dynamics Inc rose 12.7%. While only 4.3% of the equity's float is sold short, this represents nine sessions' worth of trading activity, at average daily volumes.

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