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Airline Stocks Slide on U.K. Plan B Speculation

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By Catherine Reynolds -- A cluster of stocks were under pressure as speculation mounted that the U.K. government was poised to introduce stricter Covid restrictions to control the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.

Airline stocks were hit, with IAG's (LON:ICAG)’s share price falling 3.44% to €1.62 while shares of EasyJet (LON:EZJ) fell 3.75% as Prime Minister Boris Johnson mulled introducing a stronger “Plan B” to deal with the variant.

Rolls Royce (LON:RR), which is exposed to the air travel market through its engine maintenance division, was down 3.09% and ABF (LON:ABF), which owns the budget clothing retailer, Primark, fell 1.3%. Primark is more exposed to lockdowns than other fashion retailers because it does not have an online sales channel of its own.

Under the U.K. government’s Plan B, government messaging would be strengthened, there would be a return to working from home, and face masks would be mandated in various public settings. There is also a possibility that vaccine passports could be introduced, though the move faces stiff opposition from some members of Johnson’s cabinet.

An announcement is thought to be imminent. Johnson will chair a cabinet meeting later today.

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