Wild Weather a Downer for Stocks

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We don't usually think of weather reports impacting our stock analysis, but the two may have more in common than you might think. Of course, natural disasters like Japan's tsunami or a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico hits some companies hard, but we've seen more common weather impact production in other ways as well this year.

It's been a record warm year in most of the country, with record low snowfalls through much of the U.S. -- and it's the first brown January in Minnesota that this Fool can remember.

Water and electronics don't mix
Many tech companies have warned of disruptions recently because of flooding in Thailand. Seagate (NAS: STX) has seen constraints on hard-drive production due to difficulty in getting parts. Intel (NAS: INTC) points to supply chain disruptions that have reduced PC-maker demand for its chips. Super Micro Computer (NAS: SMCI) cut its guidance due to the flooding.

The fallout is expected to move further down the production line to PC makers this year as supply chains become constrained because of production issues. Weather reports in Thailand may not be something that keeps you up at night, but conditions are having a huge impact on the world's electronics supply chain.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow
Warm weather across the U.S. may be a pleasant surprise for most of us, but ski resorts are catching a bit of karma after a record setting year last year. Vail Resorts (NYS: MTN) says it hasn't affected lift ticket revenue, but that's only because it's charging customers more than it did last year. Skier visits are down an incredible 15.3% through Jan. 2, and the powder hounds (including myself) are considering calling 2012 a lost cause already.

The dry winter may also have an impact on rivers and streams in the spring. California's agriculture and water supply depends on water from the Sierra Nevadas, where conditions haven't been this dry since the 1800s. The reduced snowfall could impact everything from agricultural commodity prices to plants that may face water restrictions, and even Las Vegas' water supply.

Storm clouds are coming
A year ago, it was coal production that was affected by flooding in Australia. This year, it's flooding in Thailand affecting electronics. Who knows what's next, but Mother Nature will have an impact on business again before you know it.

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At the time this article was published Fool contributor Travis Hoium manages an account that owns shares of Intel. You can follow Travis on Twitter at @FlushDrawFool, check out his personal stock holdings or follow his CAPS picks at TMFFlushDraw.The Motley Fool owns shares of Intel. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Vail Resorts and Intel and creating a bull call spread position in Intel. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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