United's stock is set to fall 5% and wipe $1 billion off the airline's market cap – MarketWatch

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Shares in United Continental Holdings Inc. were falling 5% in premarket trading early Tuesday, as the airline continued to draw flak for having a passenger forcibly dragged off a plane Sunday.

If the carrier’s stock drops by that much at the opening bell, United UAL, +0.90%  will have about $1.1 billion wiped off its market capitalization. The company’s market cap is currently $22.5 billion, according to FactSet data.

Investors largely had shrugged on Monday at the widespread criticism of United, as the airline’s stock finished yesterday’s session 0.9% higher. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 SPX, +0.07%  — the broad U.S. stock benchmark — closed up by less than 0.1%.

Read: ‘Re-accommodate’ is United’s euphemism for forcibly dragging passenger off an airplane

And see: Why you, too, could get dragged off a plane if the airline overbooks your flight

But Tuesday’s premarket action suggests many investors now think the carrier’s business could suffer given the furor over the incident. Videos of the bloodied passenger being dragged off the plane by law enforcement have been widely shared on social media.

StockTwits — a social network for traders — has shared the following chart showing how sentiment around the stock has been souring:

Check out: Here’s the time a Nobel-prize-winning economist got ejected from a United flight

Opinion: What United should have done in response to that video of a man being violently pulled off a flight

United has said it had asked Sunday for four volunteers to leave the plane due to overbooking, and one customer refused to give up his seat on the full flight from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport to Louisville, Ky.

United CEO Oscar Munoz sent an email to employees that described the customer as “disruptive and belligerent,” leading the New York Post to say Munoz is “tone deaf.”

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