Airlines Take Hit as Virus Concerns Return

Airline stocks in Asia-Pacific tumbled on Tuesday as coronavirus fears returned, with major stock markets also seeing declines.

Markets in Japan remained shuttered Tuesday for holiday. The Japanese yen traded at 104.65 per U.S. dollar after weakening from levels below 104.4 against the greenback yesterday.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng dropped another 233.84 points, or 1%, to 23,716.85.

HSBC saw its stock drop 2.1% while Standard Chartered fell 2.3%. The moves added to sharp declines seen Monday on the back of reports that they allegedly moved large sums of suspicious funds.

Meanwhile, logistics firm ZTO Express, the latest U.S.-listed Chinese company seeking to debut in the city, is guiding the pricing for its Hong Kong share offering at 210 Hong Kong dollars ($27.10 U.S.) per share. The final pricing was expected to be set later on Tuesday.

In Hong Kong, shares of China Eastern Airlines dropped 4.8% while China Southern Airlines fell 5.3%. Cathay Pacific also slipped 2.1%. Over in South Korea, Korean Air Lines was down 2.4%. Australia’s Qantas Airways declined 1.8%. Singapore Airlines shares also shed 1.8%.

The moves came as concerns over the outlook for travel resurfaced, with analysts warning that European countries are likely to impose more restrictions on public life in the coming days amid a rapid rise in the number of daily coronavirus infections. The U.K. is set to reimpose some restrictions from Thursday as the country faces a second wave of infections.

The Australian dollar was at $0.7192 following yesterday’s drop from levels above $0.73.

In other markets

The CSI 300 dropped 55.67 points, or 1.2%, to 4,635.76.

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index lost 22.42 points, or 0.9%, to 2.463.29.

In Korea, the Kospi fell 56.8 points, or 2.4%, to 2,332.59.

In Taiwan, the Taiex index gave back 149.61 points, or 1.2%, to 12,645.51.

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 bucked the negative trend and actually gained 70.12 points, or 0.6%, to 11,609.22.

In Australia, the ASX 200 went south 38.56 points, or 0.7%, to 5,784.07.