Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Chaos theory: a pig flaps its wings in Mexico...

Swine flu is a sideshow, blown out of proportion by the media. Having rallied over 25%, equity markets were vulnerable and looking for an excuse to go lower even before the outbreak.

To date, and tragically, swine flu has accounted for 149 deaths in Mexico, a country of 111 million people. This represents 0.0001% of the population.

So, if swine flu is no more of a serious and lasting issue to world health than SARS or bird flu were, there are bargains to be had in those sectors particularly hit by pandemic hysteria.

Airlines, in particular, come to mind, as do other travel sectors such as hotels. However, these sectors were already struggling in the face of the global slowdown, and companies with stressed balance sheets may be at risk.

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