The weather is warming up and so are gasoline prices.
The price at the pump now averages $3.61 per gallon, its highest since July, according to the Lundberg Survey. Gasoline prices began their latest rise after the general market bottom at the beginning of February.
For many U.S. companies, higher gas prices aren't good news. A couple of years ago, Wal-Mart executive Duncan Mac Naughton estimated that for every penny increase in gasoline prices, its customers lose a $1 billion in disposable income.
With higher gas prices just as the U.S. comes out of the "Polar Vortex," will pain at the pump translate to pain for stocks? CNBC contributor Gina Sanchez, founder of Chantico Global, doesn't believe so.
"Even though gas prices are coming up, they're still on average lower than where they normally are in March," said Sanchez, who credits increased refinery capacity in North America with helping to bring gas prices down from its 2011 highs. "We still have a little ways to go because of this extra refining capacity before this really starts to hit the bottom line."
Sanchez doesn’t think investors should be concerned about the recent run-up in gas prices.
"Don't worry about this," she said. "This really isn't a big deal yet."
Talking Numbers contributor Richard Ross, global technical strategist at Auerbach Grayson, sees gas prices headed higher based on the one-year chart of the reformulated gasoline blendstock for oxygen blending (RBOB) contract.
(See: CNBC's Energy coverage)
A sharp move down in September allowed the price of gasoline to build a base of support for higher prices over the following six months, according to Ross. After a spike in early March, prices on gasoline contracts have been forming a "countertrend flag" that are coming up against a level of support at roughly $2.80 per gallon.
"Prices are stabilizing and the uptrend is getting ready to resume in earnest," said Ross. "So, I think we're going to see higher gas prices."
But, while Ross sees headwinds for stocks in general, he doesn't believe higher gas prices will be the catalyst for lower stock prices.
"It might go down irrespective of the higher gas prices," Ross said about stocks.
To see the full discussion on gasoline and stocks, with Sanchez on the fundamentals and Ross on the technicals, watch the video above.
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- gasoline prices