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

(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.

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)
Shares in Lufthansa fell more than 12% as investors reacted to the outbreak of swine flu.   (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader, File)
An airline passenger wearing a face mask arrives from Mexico at the airport in Barcelona, Spain, Monday, April 27, 2009.   (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
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