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What to watch: Travel stocks sink, bowling alleys reopen, EasyJet sells aircraft

Tom Belger
·Finance and policy reporter
·3-min read
FILE - In this Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018 file photo, a Ryanair plane is parked at the airport in Weeze, Germany. Europe's biggest airline by passengers, budget carrier Ryanair, will cut flights and close some of its bases beginning this winter because of the delay to deliveries of the Boeing 737 Max plane, which has been grounded globally after two fatal crashes. The airline warned Tuesday, July 16, 2019, its growth in European summer traffic for 2020 will be lower than expected because of the slowed deliveries. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File)
Travel stocks suffered after the UK put quarantine rules on new arrivals from France. Photo: Martin Meissner/AP

Here are the top business, market, and economic stories you should be watching today in the UK, Europe, and around the world:

Travel stocks tumble on UK quarantine rules

Leading European travel stocks slid 3.3% on Friday morning, after the UK imposed new quarantine rules on travellers returning from France.

France is the second most popular destination for UK tourists behind Spain, which has already seen a similar 14-day quarantine rule for those arriving in the UK. Official surveys show most people in the UK are unlikely to travel with such rules in place, while France has indicated it will take reciprocal measures.

READ MORE: UK airports braced for travel chaos after new rules imposed

“The move will force a large swathe of cancellations right at the peak of the summer holiday season for one of the largest markets for UK tourists,” said Neil Wilson of Markets.com.

German travel giant TUI (TUI.L) and airlines EasyJet (EZJ.L), British Airways owner IAG (IAG.L) and Ryanair (RYA.L) all dropped more than 4%.

The move also hit retail firms that rely on airport trade. WH Smith (SMWH.L) sank 4.9% and the SSP Group (SSPG.L), the owner of Upper Crust and Caffe Ritazza, slid 3.9%.

EasyJet raises an extra £203m from aircraft sales

The quarantine came just before EasyJet (EZJ.L) said on Friday it had raised an additional £203m ($266m) from the sale and leaseback of its aircraft, as it further bolstered its balance sheet in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

The extra funding brings to £608m the total that the airline has raised from the sale of 23 of its aircraft, and comes on top of a further £1.8bn that it has raised through other means.

EasyJet drew down £600m in funding from the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility, and last month raised around £419m by issuing new discounted shares. It also drew down £800m from an existing credit facility and two term loans.

Leisure firm shares jump as UK bowling alleys to reopen

Shares in UK leisure firms Hollywood Bowl (BOWL.L) and Ten Entertainment (TEG.L) jumped 9.6% and 3.3% respectively on Friday, after the UK government confirmed bowling alleys can reopen on Saturday.

The reopening had been planned two weeks ago alongside casinos, skating rinks, indoor soft play centres, beauty salons and spas offering “close contact” services, sports event pilots and wedding receptions for up to 30 people. But it was delayed because of rising infections.

“It’s a great relief to finally have clarity on when we can reopen after such unexpected and long delays,” said Hollywood Bowl CEO Stephen Burns.

European markets slide

European stocks dipped on Friday, amid concerns over rising coronavirus cases in several countries and new coronavirus restrictions on travel between France and Britain.

Worries over worse-than-expected factory and retail data in China and the continued deadlock over new fiscal stimulus in the US also weighed on sentiment.

Britain’s FTSE 100 (^FTSE) was down 2.3% in morning trading, France’s CAC 40 (^FCHI) down 2.2% and Germany’s DAX (^GDAXI) 1.3% lower. The pan-European Stoxx 600 (^STOXX) fell 0.6%.

What to expect in the US

Stocks looked set for a muted open later on Friday in the US, after investors weighed up the political impasse over stimulus against lower-than-expected jobless claims on Thursday.

S&P 500 futures (ES=F) were trading flat, Dow Jones futures (YM=F) were down 0.1% and Nasdaq futures (NQ=F) were up 0.1%.

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