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Why Shares of FedEx Are Falling Today

By Lou Whiteman – Feb 24, 2020 at 10:50AM

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A coronavirus-fueled global slowdown could hinder the company's recovery.

What happened

Shares of FedEx (FDX -0.50%) fell more than 4% on Monday morning, part of a broader coronavirus market sell-off. The spreading virus is likely to slow global trade, which could put FedEx's turnaround at risk.

So what

The markets, after weeks of complacency about the impact of the coronavirus, were in risk-off mode on Monday morning after a weekend spike in illness in a number of countries, including Italy and South Korea, which raised fears that the virus will not be easily contained. The S&P 500 opened down more than 2.5%, and shares of transport companies were hit particularly hard.

A FedEx delivery van on a city street.

Image source: FedEx.

FedEx shares fell more than those of rivals, including United Parcel Service, in part because FedEx had been experiencing operational weakness prior to the outbreak. FedEx investors endured a miserable 2019 as the company was slammed by trade wars, a slowdown in China, and fears of a U.S. recession.

There is reason to hope that the worst is behind FedEx, but a prolonged trade slowdown due to coronavirus could stymie the company's recovery efforts.

Now what

It's hard to argue against FedEx's current quarter being negatively impacted by the coronavirus, and depending on the severity of the outbreak, the issue could weigh on the company's results well into 2020. But for a long-term holder with a tolerance for volatility, the virus is no reason to sell.

FedEx, despite the drop, is still up for the year, and given the uncertainty, I don't think the stock has fallen enough to be considered a bargain. But as the virus-headlines continue to dominate the news, FedEx is one for value investors to keep on their radar.

Lou Whiteman owns shares of FedEx. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends FedEx. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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