Travel service stocks get a big boost from good news on potential COVID-19 vaccine

Expedia Group Inc.’s stock (EXPE) was the biggest gainer of the group within the S&P 500 index (SPX) as it shot up 21.9% in active morning trading to surpass this year’s pre-COVID-19 peak. The stock was headed for the highest close since November 2019.


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Trading volume swelled to more than 6.4 million shares, already more than double the full-day average of about 2.3 million shares.

Also in the S&P 500, shares of Booking Holdings Inc. (BKNG) shot up 16.4% toward the highest close since June 2018.

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 climbed 2.8%, with 425 of 505 components gaining ground.

The gains come after BioNTech S.E. (BNTX) and Pfizer Inc. (PFE) revealed data showing that their COVID-19 vaccine candidate was 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 in trial participants without previous evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

“Stocks, including beleaguered travel sector stocks amongst others, are soaring on the back of the news,” said Nigel Green, chief executive of independent financial advisory firm deVere Group. “But I would urge investors to remain optimistically cautious and above the ‘buy everything’ mindset.”

Elsewhere, shares of TripAdvisor Inc. (TRIP) jumped 19.4% toward a two-month high, Trivago NV (TRVG) hiked up 26.2% toward a seven-week high, Ltd. (TCOM) ran up 12.3% toward a 10-month high and Corp. (DESP) advanced 18.1% toward an eight-month high.

The rally in travel booker stocks coincided with big gains in travel providers, with shares of airlines and cruise operators also soaring.

DeVere’s Green said he believes that while the vaccine news is “obviously, an important step in the right direction,” stocks are being “premature in their buoyancy.”

Travel stocks have been among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, given some government-mandated restrictions put in place in attempt to stem the outbreak. Although many of the restrictions had been lifted since the worst of the pandemic, a surge in new cases globally worried investors that further shutdowns may occur.

With Monday’s rally, Expedia’s stock has gained 16.3% year to date and Booking shares have edged up 0.9%, while the S&P 500 has tacked on 11.7%.

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