Airline stocks hit hard as fears grow over Indian variant of Covid-19

Global markets tumble with stocks in banks, leisure, and tourism all falling

Markets around the world fell on Tuesday as a new Indian strain of Covid-19 sparked fresh fears for the easing of public health measures to curb the spread of the virus.


Euronext Dublin was down just over 2 per cent on Tuesday as airlines in particular bore the brunt of the Covid-19 fears. Aer Lingus owner International Airlines Group lost more than 8 per cent of its share price, while Ryanair was down more than 4 per cent. Elsewhere Lufthansa was down 6.5 per cent, while Wizz Air and Easyjet were both down 5 per cent.

Among the banks, AIB was down 2 per cent, while Bank of Ireland and Permanent TSB were both down about 3 per cent. "That was in line with banks across Europe," noted one trader. "Also, Bank of Ireland had a good rally on Friday on the back of the KCB news."

In construction, building materials company CRH ended the day down 2.6 per cent, while insulation-maker Kingspan was down 70 basis points.


Drinks-maker C&C was down almost 4 per cent. "That may have been down to fears over the new Indian variant of Covid-19," a trader noted. Elsewhere, Paddy Power Betfair owner Flutter Entertainment was down 3.7 per cent.


The FTSE 100 ended lower, dragged down by stocks of heavyweight oil companies and cigarette makers, while Associated British Foods slipped after a downbeat first-half earnings update. The blue-chip index dropped 2 per cent, the highest single day fall since February 26th, with tobacco firms British American Tobacco and Imperial Brands declining 7.6 per cent and 7.3 per cent, respectively, after a report said the US was considering a rule to cut nicotine in all cigarettes sold in the country to levels at which they are no longer addictive.

Shares of AB Foods fell 5.9 per cent after it posted a 50 per cent drop in first-half profit, hurt by Covid-19 lockdowns that shuttered its Primark fashion stores.

Among other stocks, cybersecurity company Avast jumped 1.3 per cent after upbeat first-quarter trading update.


European shares lost nearly 2 per cent on Tuesday, after hitting record highs a day earlier, as many regional indexes edged off pre-pandemic highs. Germany’s Dax was down 1.6 per cent, while Spain’s Ibex dropped 2.9 per cent for its worst session since December. The pan-regional Stoxx 600 index dropped 1.9 per cent in its biggest one-day decline this year.

All major indexes in Europe ended the day in the red. Travel and leisure, banks and insurers fell after strong gains this year.

Austrian sensor specialist AMS slumped almost 13 per cent after traders cited a media report that the company has lost some Apple business.

Danske Bank lost 7.6 per cent after the United States and the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board filed a claim for compensation against the Danish bank and its former chief executive Thomas Borgen.


The S&P 500 and the Dow slipped for a second straight day, with investors pinning their hopes on results from Netflix and other major tech-related companies this week to help sustain an upbeat start to the earnings season. Video-streaming service provider Netflix, which thrived during last year's lockdowns, will be the first to report quarterly numbers in the so called FAANG group. Its shares rose 1.3 per cent in early trading, ahead of its results after the closing bell.

International Business Machines rose 3.9 per cent after recording the biggest rise in quarterly sales in more than two years, boosted by its bets on cloud computing.

Tobacco company Altria Group tumbled about 7 per cent after the Wall Street Journal reported that the Biden administration is considering a rule that would limit nicotine or ban menthol in cigarettes.

Johnson & Johnson rose 1.2 per cent after the drugmaker beat expectations for quarterly earnings and raised its dividend. – Additional reporting: Reuters

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter