Tag Archives: Outbreaks/Epidemics

Booking stock gains despite continued erosion of online travel activity | Instant News


Booking Holdings Inc.’s operations continued to struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic at the end of 2020, but held up better than analysts expected. Booking BKNG, + 3.57%, known as Priceline before changing its corporate name to one of its other online travel brands, said fourth-quarter losses on Wednesday of $ 165 million, or 4 .02 dollars per share, down from earnings of $ 27.75 per share. in the same quarter a year ago. Sales fell to $ 1.24 billion from $ 3.34 billion during the 2019 holiday season. After adjusting for some tax impacts and other costs, Booking recorded a loss of 57 cents per share, down compared to adjusted earnings of $ 23.30 per share a year ago. Analysts on average expected adjusted losses of $ 4.28 per share on sales of $ 1.2 billion, according to FactSet. Shares gained around 2% after hours of trading following the release of results. The travel industry came under fire during the COVID-19 pandemic and the decline worsened in the last quarter of the year, with the coronavirus causing more lockdowns. Chief Executive Officer Glenn Fogel issued a note of hope in a statement during Wednesday’s announcement. “The travel environment continued to be difficult during the fourth quarter of 2020 and through January 2021 as the number of COVID-19 cases remained very high and travel restrictions were reimposed in many. regions of the world, ”Fogel said. “However, in recent weeks we have started to see improvements in booking trends which we will continue to monitor.” Although Booking did not provide a forecast for the first quarter in Wednesday’s announcement, analysts expected any recovery to start further into 2021. “Given the likelihood of lockdowns extending as far as in March (notably in the UK) we expect a reset is needed for 1H: 21 Street forecasts (with our estimates) as intra-quarterly travel is muffled, although this should be to some extent within the expectations, ”Stifel analysts wrote in an online travel revenue snapshot earlier this month. “We believe the situation looks more favorable over a 12 to 18 month period for Booking, given the strong leverage effect on leisure travel, exposure to alternative accommodation and the ability to generate revenue.” Investors have been betting heavily on a possible turnaround, as Booking shares jumped over 27% last month and are now up over 36% last year, while the S&P 500 SPX index, +1, 14%, increased by 20.3%. Some of these gains appear to be linked to the initial public offering and early trading by Airbnb Inc. ABNB, + 6.72%, which sells full-residence accommodation instead of hotels – Booking and another rival, Expedia Group Inc. EXPE, + 1.93%, offer similar options in their brand portfolios. “A public assessment of Expedia’s alternative accommodation portfolio in the form of Airbnb seems to suggest a significant pricing error one way or the other” and “a similar argument can be made for Booking on a sum basis parts relating to Airbnb, ”Wedbush analysts wrote earlier this month, while improving Expedia’s stock and raising their reservation price target. Airbnb, which is worth more than Booking despite being considerably smaller, is expected to publish its results for the first time as a public company on Thursday afternoon. Airbnb stock, which sold for $ 68 when it went public in December, closed at more than $ 200 on Wednesday. .



image source

Travel’s Covid-19 blues likely to stick around – “People are going to go out of business” | Instant News



The pandemic travel crisis that has hit tourism dependent economies may only be beginning. Travel destinations from Thailand to Iceland were hoping that the Covid-19 vaccines would allow countries to reopen their borders and lead to a much-needed recovery in 2021. Now, with the vaccine rollout delayed in some places and the emergence of new viral strains, it seems more likely that international travel could be blocked for years. After declaring that 2020 was the worst year on record for tourism, with a billion fewer international arrivals, the United Nations World Tourism Organization says the prospects for a rebound for 2021 have deteriorated. In October, 79% of experts polled by the agency believed that a rebound in 2021 was possible. Only 50% said they believed in January, and around 41% did not believe travel would reach pre-pandemic levels until 2024 or beyond. James Sowane, who owns a transport company for tourists in Fiji, called a staff meeting earlier this month and told employees to start looking for other jobs. He recently took advantage of a government aid package and brought home laid-off workers, optimistic vaccines could trigger a resumption of travel as early as April. But now Mr Sowane doesn’t think tourists will be back until next year, and he and his wife can’t afford to continue paying salaries at their business, Pacific Destinations Fiji. He borrows from his bank to keep a few basic employees. .



image source

AIG Profit falls on disasters, travel insurance | Instant News



Insurance conglomerate American International Group Inc.’s net income was recorded as a loss on mark-to-market hedging programs primarily for certain products sold by its life insurance business. The company’s closely watched adjusted profit fell 10% in the fourth quarter, penalized by additional costs from Covid-19. In the life insurance industry, Wall Street analysts view these mark-to-market movements as a less important performance measure than adjusted earnings, which excludes items considered non-recurring. The value of hedges jumps in response to changes in interest rates, stock markets, corporate credit spreads and other factors. Including these hedges, AIG recorded a net loss of $ 60 million for the fourth quarter, down from $ 922 million in the same period a year earlier. Its “adjusted profit after tax” fell 10%, from $ 923 million to $ 827 million. AIG’s main general insurance unit sells a range of property and casualty coverages to affluent businesses and households and is one of the largest sellers of travel insurance in the country in terms of premium volume. .



image source

Is Istanbul on your post-Covid travel wishlist? Why wait? | Instant News



For most American visitors, Turkey’s largest city is both familiar and surprising. Stroll the streets of Istanbul and you’ll find Apple Stores, Shake Shacks, and chic hijab-covered women strolling along the seaside, all to an age-old soundtrack – the call to prayer passing through the loudspeakers of the city’s innumerable mosques. It is not so much about meeting the East as the West; Istanbul’s cultural abundance makes these very categories obsolete. The city’s myriad attractions – Ottoman-era palaces, lavish art museums, sensational food and shopping – make it a magnetic destination. For intrepid travelers, Istanbul remains a major temptation given that Turkey is one of the few countries that currently allows American tourists. Americans are welcome as long as they present proof of a negative Covid-19 test (although the CDC still deems Turkey, as well as most of Europe, to be very risky in terms of the virus). But like many places right now, Istanbul doesn’t have its usual boast. For two months, this city of 16 million inhabitants has been silent every day of the week at 9 p.m. under a strictly enforced curfew. On weekends, residents can only leave their homes to do their shopping. Restaurants are only open for take-out or delivery on weekdays, and only delivered on weekends. Tourists are exempt from curfews, and the hotel’s restaurants can serve meals to guests, but the streets empty of locals can feel ghostly. Until these streets fill up again, you might prefer to explore the city in another way – sampling some of the music, movies, books, and tastes that will surely make you want to visit in flesh and blood when the time is right. THE READINGS / Three volumes that reach well below the surface Istanbul: Memories and the City by Orhan Pamuk In this lyrical memoir, Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk recounts his childhood in a wealthy family. He mixes his personal experiences with historical Istanbul accounts from renowned visitors including Gustave Flaubert, using his reflections on various sites and neighborhoods to examine not only his own identity as a writer, but also how Istanbulists perceive themselves. themselves and their place in the world. Notes on a Foreign Country: An American Abroad in a Post-American World by Suzy Hansen 2018 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Non-Fiction, Hansen’s book is above all a study of the impact of American policies and actions in the Middle-East. But the chapters that take place in Istanbul also vividly capture the intelligence, color and humor of the people she meets. For a wheelchair traveler, this is the best thing to do to meet the locals in person. The Serenity Murders of Mehmet Murat Somer The lead detective in this windy Istanbul-based mystery – the fourth and most recent in Mehmet Murat Somer’s popular Turkish Delight series – is Burçak Veral, a transvestite who dresses like Audrey Hepburn. She also serves as a very entertaining and food-obsessed tour guide in the city. TASTE / From chef and restaurateur Musa Dagdeviren, a lesson in culinary history If you want to try cooking Turkish dishes at home, “The Turkish Cookbook”, by Musa Dagdeviren, covers the wide range of Turkish cuisine. Mr. Dagdeviren has spent years traveling the country preserving regional recipes, a journey also recounted in Netflix’s “Chef’s Table” series. Here are three local specialties recommended by Mr. Dagdeviren, each one a lesson in culinary history. .



image source

Travel documents under pressure in London as investors monitor Bristol COVID-19 variant | Instant News


London stocks were heading for weekly gains, but the FTSE 250 envisioned a loss as travel-related names took a hit amid concerns over another potential strain of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The FTSE 100 UKX index, + 0.94%, rose 0.2% and is expected to gain 0.8% for the week, as global stocks struggled to propel themselves up and ahead of a public holiday in the US Monday. The FTSE 250 MCX Index, + 0.09%, more focused on the domestic market, fell 0.1% and faces a weekly loss of 0.4%. Fears over the potential impact on the UK of another strain of coronavirus found in Bristol weighed on travel names such as TUI TUI1, -0.95%, down 4%, Carnival CCL, -0 , 87%, down 3.8%, easyJet EZJ, + 0.37%, down 3.4%, and FirstGroup FGP, + 0.13%, down 0.6%, said Joshua Mahony, senior market analyst at IG. “Recent gains in inventory value have been built on the notion that the vaccination program and reopening process is linear and predictable in nature, but tensions in South Africa and now in Bristol highlight the potential to derail that presumption. “, did he declare. Sky News reported that the mutation in Bristol may be able to bypass vaccines as it changes the appearance of the original strain. This is how a top British scientist warned on Thursday that the much more infectious variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, which first emerged in this country, could “sweep the world”. As for larger shares up, shares of AstraZeneca AZN, + 2.91% AZN, + 3.11% rose 1.6%, the day after the pharmaceutical company, which was in the spotlight for its development of a COVID-19 vaccine with the University of Oxford, announced strong full-year results on Thursday. Shares of pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline GSK, + 1.82% GSK, + 1.22% rose 1%. Mining stocks weighed down, with Anglo American AAL shares -0.02% down more than 1% and Glencore GLEN, -0.26% down 1.5%. Elsewhere, new data has shown that the UK economy sank deeper than any other European country in 2020, as confirmed by the Office for National Statistics. It marked the worst recession since the Great Frost of 1709, but the economy grew 1% in the fourth quarter, avoiding a double-dip recession, analysts noted. Opinion: Why the UK economy can quickly turn a corner.



image source