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.