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Why Booking Holdings Tumbled 12.7% in January

By Rich Duprey - Updated Feb 9, 2021 at 6:15PM

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The outlook for travel and tourism appears dim.

What happened

Shares of Booking Holdings (BKNG -2.66%) fell 12.7% in January, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence, as the outlook for travel and tourism remains mixed at best.

So what

Although analysts have become more bullish about its prospects, unless there are widespread vaccinations for COVID-19 administered, the likelihood of consumers getting back to their normal routines -- including going on vacations and booking travel reservations -- is limited.

Couple planning a vacation

Image source: Getty Images.

Cruise lines keep pushing back their launch dates for when they will begin sailing again, and airlines are preparing for another round of massive layoffs. Even Southwest Airlines, which has never let any of its employees go, began making preparations to do that in December.

BKNG Chart

BKNG data by YCharts

Now what

There's no doubt that Booking Holdings will bounce back strong when the travel and tourism industries return to growth, but that's not going to be for a while. Cruise ship operators, for example, even if they start sailing again this summer, will only be doing so with a few ships and not anywhere near capacity. Business travel promises to remain depressed too.

The Biden administration recently said that even after getting vaccinated, people will still need to wear masks and keep up social distancing, which seemingly goes against the point of getting vaccinated and could have the very real effect of keeping people from doing so as they ask, why bother?

That could weigh heavily on the chances of Booking Holdings and other travel stocks rising very much in the year to come.

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Stocks Mentioned

Booking Holdings Stock Quote
Booking Holdings
$2,046.01 (-2.66%) $-55.88
Southwest Airlines Co. Stock Quote
Southwest Airlines Co.
$43.18 (0.44%) $0.19

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