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Katrina aftershocks: Biz roundup
Gas prices soar, Bush warns against gouging, economic fallout may be worse than originally thought.
September 2, 2005: 1:12 PM EDT
Gas crisis looms
Experts fear near-term hit on economy from hurricane Katrina; say longer-term fallout less dire. (Full story)
$4 a gallon gas coming soon
Five tips
What you need to know about insurance after a disaster. (Full story)

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - As evacuation efforts continue in New Orleans and surrounding areas, Wall Street is looking at how Hurricane Katrina will affect business, the markets and the economy.

Here's the latest news on how they are responding, and what market watchers should look for in the coming weeks.

The economy

New estimates are that Katrina could cost $100 billion, making it the costliest hurricane to ever hit the United States. (Full story)

There's a growing sense that the economy could take a much bigger hit than originally expected, meaning the Fed may have to pause from its interest rate hikes. (Full story on the Fed). Plus: (Full story on the economy).

The devastation of Hurricane Katrina will also take a big bite out of job creation for months to come, analysts said, as companies spending more on energy spend less on hiring. (Full story)

Gas prices

Gasoline prices spiked as high as $5 a gallon in some areas Thursday as consumers fearing a gas shortage raced to the pumps. (Full story)

President Bush warned Thursday against price-gouging of gasoline in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and said looters should be treated with zero tolerance. (Full story). In the meantime, the President met with Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan to discuss the economic fallout from the hurricane damage.

According to a new poll, consumers ranked taming gas prices as nearly as important a political priority as the Iraq war. (Full story)

Oil shortage

The White House says half of the refineries hit by Katrina could be operational in two weeks. (Full story)

Prices eased slightly off their highs on Friday as the U.S. tapped emergency oil reserves. (Full story)

European nations have made a commitment to contribute oil to the United States, with a goal of two millions barrels per day. (Full story)

The jump in oil prices was a boon for hedge-funds betting that the price of oil would rise. (Full story)

Corporate earnings

Analysts expect Katrina to take a big bite out of corporate earnings, except in the energy and construction sectors, as high energy prices hit consumer spending and corporate budgets. (Full story)

Despite the extraordinary devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina, corporations will not be able to exclude costs related to the hurricane when reporting their financial results, a news report said. (Full story)

Corporations are contributing millions of dollars in relief aid to cope with the destruction left by Hurricane Katrina. See the list.

Insurance

Hurricane Katrina is expected to be one of the costliest U.S. storms for insurers, but risk forecasters are deeply split about the extent of the damage. Insured losses may total as much as $25 billion, but insurers' stocks have held up well, with the S&P insurance index falling less than 1 percent this week. (Full story)

Reinsurers may pay a bigger share of claims than in the 2004 hurricanes, analysts said. This is because Katrina is a single event, so insurers will pay only one deductible before reinsurance starts. That could prove costly for hedge funds with large investments in reinsurance. (Full story)

Airlines

Northwest Airlines, hurt by soaring fuel costs, predicted a quarterly loss of up to $400 million and said it may be forced to file for bankruptcy. (Full story)

Air travelers across the nation can expect to feel the effects of Hurricane Katrina, according to a report published Tuesday. (Full story)

S&P said reduced air travel to the region could push Delta Air Lines into bankruptcy and that lower demand and higher fuel prices will weigh on airlines generally. (Full Story)  Top of page

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