Boeing shares plummet as travel restrictions hit airlines

FILE PHOTO: The company logo for Boeing is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 11, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Shares in Boeing Co (BA.N) dropped more than 16% on Thursday on concerns that sweeping U.S. travel restrictions on Europe, meant to curb the spreading coronavirus, will hurt the planemaker’s airline customers.

The 30-day travel restrictions, announced by U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday, are expected to deepen financial misery for airlines, which are likely to defer or cancel jet deliveries, Boeing’s main source of cash.

“Airlines are in cash preservation mode,” Cowen analyst Helane Becker said.

Boeing itself is fighting to preserve cash as the coronavirus outbreak compounds fallout from a year-old grounding of its 737 MAX.

J.P.Morgan cut its long-term “overweight” rating on the planemaker’s shares. The stock has lost more than half of its value from a year ago, when a global 737 MAX grounding sparked by a second fatal crash hit investor sentiment.

Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Marguerita Choy

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