Easyjet and Carnival to be booted out of the FTSE 100 tonight

Mark Shapland

EasyJet and cruise operator Carnival will lose their seat at the top table of UK blue chips tonight after the COVID-19 crisis knocked the value of their shares.

Hard-hit by travel bans, the low-cost airline lost as much as two thirds of its market value during the peak of the pandemic crisis and despite a vigorous bounce-back, its market capitalisation was only ranked 125th based on Monday’s stock market close in London.

FTSE Russell, requires companies to be ranked at least 110th to be part of the blue-chip index.

EasyJet, which plans to cut up to 4,500 jobs and shrink its fleet, had returned to the FTSE 100 only last December after a fall in its shares had triggered an exile from the index.

A Carnival cruise ship (AP)

“EasyJet would need a big rally, but it could come back in September,” at the occasion of the next reshuffle, said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

“With airlines, anything is possible”, he added, referring to the extreme market volatility experienced by these companies.

The FTSE 100 will be reshuffled tonight

Europe’s Travel and Leisure index lost up to 58% of its value in less than a month in mid-March before rallying more than 60% since. The recovery was not enough for Carnival to retain its FTSE 100 crown.

Both firms have seen their value more than halve in the past three months, despite a small improvement after recent Government announcements on measures to ease the lockdown safely.

The last reshuffle in March had already exposed the pain in the tourism industry with the exit of European holiday company TUI.

British Airways owner IAG and InterContinental Hotels Group will continue to fly the travel industry flag within the FTSE 100 after the reshuffle while Premier Inn owner Whitbread is close to the departure gate.

Among the other companies expected to be dropped from the index are Britain’s largest energy supplier Centrica and engineering company Meggitt.

Companies set to replace them in the FTSE 100 include cyber security business Avast, repairs firm Homeserve, Ladbrokes owner GVC and medical supplies company Convatec.

The FTSE 100 is updated every three months.