European markets rebounded late in the day, after initial falls , fuelled by fears of a swine flu epidemic.
US markets and the Nasdaq also recovered slightly, after initial falls in reponse to a worst case scenario. Most vulnerable were airline, travel, bank and commodity shares.. Only the pharmaceutical industry remained consistently buoyant. Rovert Halver from the Baader Bank says: “Swine flu is widespread in several developing countries like Mexico. So businessmen are saying “we won’t travel just at the moment, if there is a slightest danger of swine flu. And that is having an effect on Lufthansa shares.” As well as Lufthansa, Air France KLM and British Airways all saw stocks fall. Travel groups including France’s Accor, TUI and Thomas Cook were all vulnerable. But it’s an ill wind, and shares rose in Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche . It is increasing production of its anti flu drug Tamiflu. UK firm Glaxosmithklein which makes rival drug Relenza is also upping production. Oil closed down to under 50 dollars a barrel, as less travel means using less jet fuel and petrol. BP, Shell and Total shares all fell. Opec has cut supply by 4.2 million barrels per day since September to try to prop up prices. Major banks all saw their shares fall. The dollar took a hammering and the yen rose, fuelled by fears of the long term impact of swine flu