Every investor and trader has spent much of today speculating (either in words or dollars) on what President Donald Trump’s positive coronavirus test might mean for stocks.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 closed the day, October 2, down 0.96% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.48%. The NASDAQ Composite and the NASDAQ 100 dropped 2.22% and 2.83%, respectively.
The market hates uncertainty so the White House news plus bad news on the September employment report would be expected to produce a down day.
So why did airlines stocks move up? American Airlines (AAL) closed up 3.34%. United Airlines (UAL) was up 2.36% at the end of the day. Delta Air Lines (DAL) finished ahead 2.09%.
Because, strangely enough, the news that the President tested positive for the coronavirus produced optimism that the odds for a deal on another coronavirus stimulus package had climbed. And that any package would include an extension of billion to airlines to pay salaries to their workers and prevent threatened layoffs.
I don’t claim to understand the logic in Washington today, but the news of the President’s positive test produced statements of optimism on the deal from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
House Speaker Pelosi said that President Donald Trump’s Covid-19 diagnosis might change the tenor of the talks by emphasizing the seriousness of the pandemic.
Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin spoke by telephone on Friday afternoon for 65 minutes. The talks are continuing, Pelosi’s office said.
Even Senate Leader McConnell was positive. “I think we’re closer to getting an outcome,” McConnell said at an event Friday in Kentucky.
For airline stocks, this comment from Pelosi was probably most important. Pelosi said that she would support an extension of aid for airlines either as part of a broader package or as a standalone bill. The Speaker had previously resisted any piecemeal approach to the stimulus.
I’ve got my doubts about this later Friday dose of optimism. But for a day, at least, airline stocks believe.
I don’t think that another airline bailout would change the course of airline revenue over the next couple of months and I’m still looking to short American Airlines shares using Put options. But a rescue deal would produce a short term pop of the kind that would make it easier to show a profit on any airline Puts. I’ve said on my subscription site JubakAM.com that I’d like to buy these Puts for my Volatility Portfolio with the underlying shares above $13.00. American Airlines closed at $13.00 today. Close but not quite a cigar yet.