Travel & Leisure stocks on high alert as Delta mutation poses threat to recovery By


© Reuters

By Samuel Indyk – stocks in the UK will be on high alert over the coming days and weeks as a new mutation of the Delta variant threatens to put a dent in the recovery of the industry that has been hurt more than most by the pandemic.

AY.4.2, which some are referring to as ‘Delta Plus’, contain mutations that could give the virus survival advantage, according to the BBC. The UK is currently undertaking tests to understand how large a threat the new mutation could pose.

AY.4.2 has not yet been considered a variant of concern, or a variant under consideration – categories that are assigned to different variants and the level of risk associated with them.

If a variant is considered to be more contagious then it would be classified as a variant under investigation. If it was evidently more transmissible, or could potentially cause more serious disease, then it would be classified as a variant of concern.

“It is potentially a marginally more infectious strain,” Professor Francois Balloux, director of University College London’s Genetics Institute, told the BBC.

However, Balloux suggested that it was unlikely to be as damaging as the Delta and Beta variants and urged people not to panic.

“It’s nothing compared with what we saw with Alpha and Delta, which were something like 50 to 60 percent more transmissible,” Balloux added. “At this stage I would say wait and see, don’t panic.”

Travel stocks

Travel and leisure stocks were mixed on Thursday morning amid the warning and rising Covid cases, with airlines suffering a torrid month so far.

For October, IAG (LON:) is down 11.1%, EasyJet (LON:) is down 9.5%, and Wizz Air (LON:) is down 12.8% as fears of rising Covid cases and evidence of new mutations threatening to impact the recovery.

Higher oil prices are also not helping with and crude futures both trading near multiyear highs amid tight supply.

Other travel stocks, such as tour operator Tui (LON:) and cruise line operator Carnival (LON:) were trading lower on Thursday morning.

London-listed hotel operators InterContinental (LON:) and Whitbread (LON:) were also trading with losses.

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