Europe Travel and Leisure Stocks Fully Erase Pandemic Losses
(Bloomberg) -- A gauge of European travel and leisure stocks erased the last of its pandemic losses, propelled by gains in gambling companies, and as optimism over a potential rebound in demand spurs a rally in airlines and tour firms.
The Stoxx 600 Travel & Leisure Index rose as much as 3.2% Monday, taking it above the closing level of 267.68 on Feb. 19, 2020, which marked a high for European markets before the pandemic-driven selloff.
The subgroup plunged in March 2020 as Covid-19 spread across the globe, leading several countries to close borders and implement travel restrictions. While most airline stocks are still a long way off last February’s highs, they have been rebounding since November on positive vaccine developments and as countries such as the U.K. set out a path out of lockdowns.
According to London’s Heathrow Airport, Britain could become the first country to resume international travel “at scale,” with plans to fully restart the economy from June 21. Elsewhere, New York is lifting its domestic travel quarantine requirement starting April 1, while AFP reported that France eased curbs on travel to the U.K. and six other non-European Union countries.
Deutsche Lufthansa AG said Friday it has almost doubled its number of flights for the Easter travel season in response to an increase in bookings.
Gambling stocks such as Evolution Gaming Group AB and Flutter Entertainment Plc have led the subindex’s restoration of pre-pandemic levels. Most travel stocks in the gauge are still down significantly in the period, with British Airways parent IAG SA falling 49% and cruise operator Carnival Plc 44% lower.
Monday’s advance in the gauge was largely due to Flutter, which surged as much as 7.6% in Dublin after saying it is considering listing a “small shareholding” in its FanDuel unit in the U.S.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.