Boats, RV and motorcycle stocks slide amid coronavirus fears

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Brunswick Corp. stock as of this morning.

Brunswick Corp. stock as of this morning.

Did someone just call off summer vacation?

That was the question asked by Clark Schultz, a news editor at Seeking Alpha that chronicled Wall Street’s response to coronavirus fears in an article,Investors sour on RVs, boats and motorcycles.”

Winnebago, Malibu Boats, MasterCraft Boat Holdings Inc., MarineMax, Brunswick Corp., Thor Industries, and Patrick Industries all posted declines yesterday, some of them double-digit. All continued declining today, albeit at a slower pace.

Harley-Davidson and Polaris also showed losses.

“Boating and RV stocks are selling off as concerns as the spreading of the coronavirus in the U.S. seem to have investors questioning the impact on demand,” wrote Schultz.

News outlets also covered the threat to luxury companies, both public and private, as coronavirus fears mounted this week.

The luxury industry was braced for $43 billion in losses, according to outlets like Business of Fashion, and a headline from The Wall Street Journal worried that the outbreak could mean problems for the “Made In Italy” brand.

Luxury markets tend to respond to threats like the coronavirus by shutting down and pulling back, according to Retail Dive. Events including the Singapore Yacht Show and the Dubai International Boat Show have also been cancelled or postponed.

However, some sectors are positioning themselves to benefit from the fear, noted one article by The New York Times.

Southern Jet, a charter jet company in Boca Raton, Fla., recently sent out a limited test marketing email with the tag line: “Avoid coronavirus by flying private … Request a quote today!”

Travelers who were planning vacations in affected countries like Italy are instead opting for the isolation of yachts, the article said.

Jennifer Saia, the president of B&B Yacht Charter in Newport, R.I., told the newspaper that one longtime client, a retired telecommunications executive, had booked a villa for his family in Florence, Italy, for April but is now chartering a yacht in the Bahamas instead.

“It totally makes sense,” Ms. Saia said. “You’re keeping your family contained in a very small, should-be-clean environment. And going from your car to your F.B.O.” — meaning fixed base operator, or private jet terminal — “to your private jet right onto the tarmac. And from there, right onto your yacht, and not having to deal with the public.”


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