Shares of cruise operator Carnival (CCL 12.44%) jumped as much as 11.2% in trading Tuesday after President Trump vowed to help the industry. Shares actually hit a 52-week low near midday as well, but at 2:55 p.m. EDT, they were still up 7.2% for the day.
President Trump said earlier today that the administration is working on ways to help the cruise and airline industries adapt to a loss of demand due to the COVID-19 coronavirus. Details on what exactly that help looks like are murky, but the comment got traders excited after weeks of bad news for the industry.
It's been a brutal few weeks for travel stocks as discretionary consumer spending has rapidly shifted away from cruises and flying. The U.S. government even advised consumers against taking cruises in order to avoid the virus. If the exodus lasts much longer, the entire industry could be in dire straits.
Any speculation of a bailout is just that, speculation. So investors shouldn't be buying on today's news, as tempting as it might be.
What I would watch for are signs that the U.S. can get the coronavirus under control and whether or not the government is interested in cushioning the blow to industries like cruising. If both work out well, the industry may have smooth sailing in a matter of months. But right now, it looks like 2020 is going to be a disaster financially for the cruise industry.