Shares in international air carriers came under pressure Thursday, underperforming the day’s weaker global stock markets, after Cairo-bound EgyptAir Flight 804 disappeared over the Mediterranean Sea earlier in the day. Fears that the plane was taken down in a terrorist attack gave investors jitters over the potential impact on global air travel.
The drop in airline stocks was mostly steeper than the trend in broader indexes on both sides of the Atlantic. The FTSEurofirst 300 Index ended the day 1.19 percent lower while Wall Street’s S&P 500 ended the day down 0.4 percent.
The cause of the crash, as well as the location of the crash site, was unknown Thursday evening, U.S. East Coast time. Virtually every major global carrier started the trading day down significantly, a typical reaction to terrorist attacks. Tourism-related stocks plunged after the attacks in Brussels in December, though the market reaction to the EgyptAir Flight 804 disappearance has been more subdued.
Another factor hurting travel stocks was a report released before markets opened in Western Europe from Thomas Cook. The major British travel agency said in its half-year report that summer bookings are down 5 percent compared to last year. An increase in travel to the U.S. and Spain this summer wasn’t enough to offset a steep decline in travel to Turkey and a retreat in Belgium compared to last year.
Stock in hotel groups Accor, TUI and InterContinental also closed down by as much as 2.9 percent.
Here’s where stocks in the major airlines closed on Thursday:
American Airlines Group: Down 1.4 percent.
Delta Air Lines: Down 1.7 percent.
United Continental Holdings: Down 2.8 percent.
Deutsche Lufthansa: Down 1.3 percent.
Air France-KLM: Down 1.1 percent.
International Consolidated Airlines (British Airways, Iberia): Down 1 percent.
Southwest Airlines: Down 1.7 percent.
China Southern Airlines: Down 1.8 percent.
All Nippon Airways (ANA): Down 0.8 percent.
Qantas Airways: Down 2.1 percent.