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Why Royal Caribbean Stock Dropped 5% This Morning

By Rich Smith – Feb 28, 2020 at 1:38PM

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Admit it. You saw this one coming.

What happened

One of the very first stories we ran here at the Fool on the subject of the novel coronavirus was about cruise line operator Royal Caribbean International (RCL 2.19%) canceling eight cruises sailing out of China.

This morning, Royal Caribbean stock dropped nearly 5% on continued concerns about COVID-19, the disease caused by a member of the coronavirus family that has caused nearly 3,000 deaths to date.

Collage showing a cruise ship, a man in a face mask and a microbe

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

This morning, Bloomberg reported that two non-Royal Caribbean cruise liners in the Caribbean have been denied entry to local ports out of coronavirus concerns. 

One, the MS Braemar, which was just denied entry to the Dominican Republic, is owned by Norway-based Bonheur ASA. The other, MSC Meraviglia, owned by MSC Cruises, was turned away first from Jamaica and then the Cayman Islands before finally dropping anchor off Mexico to await test results.

But just because Royal Caribbean doesn't own these particular vessels, investors aren't confident Royal Caribbean's ships won't be the next to get turned away.

Now what

As Bloomberg points out, between Royal Caribbean, Carnival Corp, and Norwegian Cruise Lines, the U.S.-based cruise industry has lost $31 billion in market capitalization over just the past six weeks. The good news is that after initially falling on today's news, all three stocks are seeing a bit of a relief rally in early afternoon trading.

But based on this latest development in the Caribbean, I fear they still have further to fall.

Rich Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Carnival. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Stock Quote
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