Stock markets hold firm but travel and leisure shares fall
November 16, 2015, 2:49 pm

Shares in Europe`s travel and tourism companies suffered heavy falls on Monday as investors worried about the impact of the Paris attacks.

Airlines were among the big fallers, with Air France down 5% and British Airways owner IAG down 3%. French hotel group Accor was almost 5% down.

Europe`s main stock markets recovered from early falls, and by midday London, Paris and Frankfurt were slightly up.

Gold rose 1% as investors sought the safety of traditional havens.

Many analysts had forecast that travel and leisure shares would be the big losers on Monday as markets got their first chance to react to Friday`s attacks.

Eurotunnel Group, operator of the Channel Tunnel rail link, fell almost 5%. Aeroports de Paris, the operator of Paris` Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports, was 5% lower, while LVMH and Gucci-owner Kering fell 2%.

Budget airlines Easyjet and Ryanair fell about 3% in early trading, but were 0.28% and 1.2% lower by late morning.

"In a sign of resilience, there is no sign of the panicked trading that could have been justifiably expected from the European indices," noted Spreadex trader Connor Campbell.

The tourism sector accounts for about 7.5% of French GDP.

"These Paris terrorist attacks and the larger scale of this attack could have a meaningful negative impact on the travel and tourism sector," Robert T Lutts, president and chief investment officer at Cabot Wealth Management, told the Reuters news agency.

"It is possible this could cause investors to take a bit more cautious stance on the higher-risk sectors of the markets."

Hidenori Suezawa, financial market and fiscal analyst at SMBC Nikko Securities, added: "Given that France has a big tourism industry, there may be some damage to the economy if this leads to a fall in visitors to France, or in tourism in general after the crash of a Russian plane."

`Resilient`

Market sentiment was weak before the attacks, with the UK`s FTSE 100 closing at a six-week low on Friday and Wall Street having its worst week since August.

A decline in tourism in Europe could also weaken the euro, analysts warned. But the currency held relatively steady on Monday, and was up 0.23% against the dollar and down 0.01% against sterling.

French air strikes against IS bases in Syria led to concerns about oil supplies. The price of Brent crude was up 1% to $44.92 a barrel.

But many analysts believe any widespread economic impact of the Paris shootings could be short.

"As horrific as these events are - and this is truly awful - economic activity does tend to be pretty resilient. At the end of the day, people have to get on with their lives," said Howard Archer, an economist at IHS Global Insight.

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