Swine Flu Sends Travel Stocks Falling

Airlines decline while drugmakers advance; Mexican peso tumbles
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 27, 2009 6:39 AM CDT
The headquarters of pharmaceutical company Roche are seen in Basel, Switzerland. Shares in Roche jumped as investors reacted to the outbreak of swine flu.   (AP Photo/Keystone, Dominik Pluess, File)
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(Newser) – Stocks declined worldwide today, with travel companies leading losses as investors gave their first reaction to the outbreak of swine flu. Airlines took a pummeling—Lufthansa fell more than 12%, British Airways 8.7%—and tour operators like Carnival also suffered sharp drops. But pharmaceutical companies did well: drugmaker Roche, which manufactures Tamiflu and other anti-influenza drugs, shot up 4%.

The swine flu outbreak is also having an effect on currency markets. The Mexican peso dropped as much as 3.5% against the dollar before recovering slightly, and traders pulled out of Australia and New Zealand after news of infections there emerged. UBS, which was recently pushing Mexican stocks as a "top pick," today downgraded those shares to "underweight" on fears that the country's economic outlook will darken.