Shares of United Airlines and Delta Air Lines were under pressure on the stock exchanges in New York on Monday. The airlines were forced to cancel hundreds of flights around Christmas due to a spike in corona infections.
Other travel stocks, such as those of cruise lines, were also under pressure due to the virus fear. Investors are coming back from a long weekend. Trade in the last week of the year is traditionally thin.
More than 2,800 flights were cancelled in the US over the Christmas weekend. Typically, the Christmas season is one of the busiest for the airline industry. Airlines say that staff shortages have arisen as the omikron variant of the coronavirus is rapidly spreading worldwide. At least 800 flights were cancelled on Monday.
Employees become infected or are quarantined. United Airlines, which cancelled one in eight flights, lost 2.5 percent in market value. Delta Air Lines, which also cancelled about 12 percent of its flights, had to make do with a minus of 2.6 percent. American Airlines and Southwest Airlines lost more than 3 percent.
The spread of the virus around the holidays also causes nuisance at sea. US authorities are monitoring some 60 cruise ships for outbreaks on board. As a result, cruise ship operators Carnival, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line lost more than 4 percent.
Shortly after the opening bell, the leading Dow-Jones index was 0.2 percent higher at 36,025 points. The broad S&P 500 rose 0.5 percent to 4751 points. Tech gauge Nasdaq won 0.7 percent to 15,763 points.
Sentiment in New York was partly determined by the rapid spread of the omikron variant. In the United States alone, 150,000 new infections are added every week. That number is expected to rise rapidly. However, the clinical picture of this variant would be slightly less severe.
Pharmaceutical Moderna lost more than 1 percent. The company does not want to be more open about the price of a corona vaccine, as a shareholder would like to see. Investor LGIM is particularly concerned that Moderna mainly supplies to richer countries. Various organizations have previously criticized Moderna’s lack of supplies to poorer countries.