Tuesday, April 28, 2009

AirAsia slumps as swine flu may hit travel

SHARES of Malaysia’s budget carrier AirAsia slid nearly 9 per cent to RM1.14 today after fears that further spread of swine flu would hit the travel industry, analysts said.

State-owned Malaysia Airlines’ (MAS) shares were also down 3.2 per cent at RM3.04, slightly better than AirAsia because of a lower level of foreign shareholders, an analyst with a local brokerage whose policy does not allow him to be named, said.

“I think this (swine flu) is going to hurt everybody. MAS shares are fairly tightly held by local institutions but AirAsia shares are widely owned by foreigners. So you have higher liquidity in the market and as and when something happens you will see bigger volatility in share price,” the analyst said.

Fears of a global swine flu pandemic mounted with new infections in the United States and Canada, and millions of Mexicans stayed indoors to avoid a virus that has already killed up to 103 people.

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