Just a little bit of this and a little bit of that going on today at the Worldwide Headquarters.
Just received an email that was sent by Henry Harteveldt, big cheese travel analyst over at Forrester Research. Now, you might ask, so what? Well, Henry was on JetBlue’s Beta Blue flight today. He sent the message from the airplane. The airline is rolling out a somewhat limited wireless connectivity offering for passengers today. I say limited in that you won’t be able to surf the web or open attachments in your email. And, you will be limited in the types of email accounts you can access.
But hey, give them an “A” for being the first ones out of the gate. In this week’s PBB, I said I wasn’t going to get excited until they rolled out the Version 2.0. But as long as the airline is making it clear that this is a “beta” test — then more power to them.
I am all for being able to message and check email while crossing the country. I think that would be great.
I just don’t want to hear anyone yaking into a cell phone. No. Never. No way.
Good thing Henry was flying coast to coast, and not into or out of the Midwest. Yes, it’s nasty out there folks. Really nasty. Ice nasty. I mean snow is one thing, but ice — not good. More than 20 people have now died as a result of this latest ice storm making its way across the country, and I don’t know how many hundreds of thousands of folks are still now without power in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri. Yep, Chicago — you’ve seen the weather maps. You’re about to get hit.
Be careful flying out there. Surprisingly, delays at ORD are currently not that bad. We’ll see how things hold up as the weather deteriorates.
Speaking of deteriorating, this afternoon we’re also watching with interest the gyrations in the stock market.
The Federal Reserve did what most of us market junkies thought it was going to do today. Big Ben and his band of merry men and women announced they were cutting the its benchmark interest rate by a quarter-point. This brings the rate down to 4.25%.
But the decision doesn’t seem to have made anyone happy.
The dollar continued to lose ground this morning, in anticipation of another cut, (investors overseas are not very happy with the Fed’s continued moves, and as a result, the dollar continues to get hammered) and this afternoon Wall Street clearly took the approach that a quarter of a point was not enough — as stocks have now staged a nice protest following the news of the rate cut. Yes, many were hoping for a half of a point cut.
How is all this affecting airline stocks?
Well, that’s another problem.
The more the dollar drops, the more traders feel inclined to bid the price of oil up. Looks like the price of a barrel of crude is going to be up a little more than $2 for the day. It’s hanging around $90 and change.
This then translates into lower prices for airline stocks. Almost all of the sector is down for the day as of this writing — as the AMEX Airline Index is down about 5%.
Yes, it’s ugly out there today. In more ways than one.
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