U.S. airline stocks fall on new Ebola fears just ahead of the sector's earnings reports. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Airlines stocks were slammed on new fears about the spread of the deadly Ebola virus after a second nurse in Dallas was diagnosed with the disease and had traveled on a regional airline on Monday- the day before she reported symptoms. The first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States died at a Dallas hospital last week. A nurse who cared for him was diagnosed with the disease on Sunday. S&P Capital IQ's Jim Corridore says while the fears are overblown - airlines must get ahead of the issue: SOUNDBITE: JIM CORRIDORE, ANALYST, S&P CAPITAL IQ (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Certainly, the airlines will be touting safety records, touting the difficulty of the transmission of the disease, and I would be very surprised if they didn't address it, but again it should be something that is- it's important to note that nobody has caught it from flying on a plane as of yet." But the concerns will impact the economy and the travel business, says Wells Fargo Chief Economist John Silvia: SOUNDBITE: JOHN SILVIA, CHIEF ECONOMIST, WELLS FARGO (ENGLISH) SAYING: "It creates a real upside potential for a big hit on the US economy especially with respect to travel so no there is no way to quantify it but it certainly creates a high level of uncertainty." Holiday travel data through October 5 show bookings are on par with last year, but bookings could fall if Ebola fears mount. And while a positive impact was unseen on Wednesday, crashing oil prices means lower fuel prices and that could help lift profits for the sector. SOUNDBITE: JIM CORRIDORE, ANALYST, S&P CAPITAL IQ (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The dip in energy prices came towards the very end of Q3 so it should be more of a benefit for Q4. But certainly you are seeing for airlines this is either their first largest or second largest input cost its either energy or personnel expenses and so you are seeing a nice drop in their oil costs so it should lead to lower fuel prices and should give them a nice tailwind to earnings for the 4th quarter. " On Thursday, Delta will be the first airline to report