Omicron variant flash crash: 3 shares I’m buying or avoiding now

James Reynolds discusses the shares he’s buying and avoiding during this Omicon variant inspired flash crash

| More on:

The content of this article was relevant at the time of publishing. Circumstances change continuously and caution should therefore be exercised when relying upon any content contained within this article.

Dice engraved with the words buy and sell

Image source: Getty Images.

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More.

News of the Omicron Covid variant has sent markets reeling around the world, providing patient investors with an excellent opportunity to buy shares they had on their watchlists. However, not all are the great deals they may seem and I am personally avoiding as many as I am buying.


I’ve talked a lot about Rolls-Royce and I stand by what I’ve said. It has great brand recognition, an excellent history of making good quality products. Royce has also been able to secure military contracts with both the UK and US governments, which will bring in revenue for several years to come. As a high-quality manufacturer, however, it has high operating costs and potential upsets to global supply chains knock investor confidence. This is why I believe the share price fell by nearly 12% on Friday. There aren’t many deals as good as this on the stock market and I am adding it to my portfolio as we speak.

International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (LSE: IAG)

IAG has fallen a further 12% since last week as news of the Omicron variant brought back fears of international flight shutdowns. The airline seems to be a favourite of investors who think that an end to the pandemic will bring its share price roaring back to pre-2020 highs.

The only problem with that assessment is the assumption that the pandemic will simply be announced to be over one day. The world will eventually get through this storm, but it could be years before the final cases are completely eliminated.

Between now and then, who knows how many new variants will be discovered? Even in ordinary times, IAG is a highly volatile asset. It has spent years bouncing between highs of nearly 500p and lows of just under 100p. It is currently trading near just shy of 100p, but since I’m not willing to become a trader, this is one I’m steering clear away from.


SSP is a multinational food contract service. It operates around 2,800 branded retail units in airports, train and bus stations around the world. Naturally it was hit hard by the initial Covid lockdowns. The share price has taken a further loss of around 15% over the last few days, and currently trades for 214p. However, I think that SSP will fare far better than IAG. In the years before Covid, SSP increased its revenue and its profit margins. It also paid down debt and saw steady, sustainable growth in its share price.

There is a lot of pent-up demand for both air travel and food services. But reopening small cafes domestically have far fewer issues than operating international flights. Small retail units also have much lower operating costs than airlines. Once the world gets back on track, I believe SSP is in a good position to regain its pre pandemic share price of 550p.

The future

No one can be sure what will happen because of the Omicron variant. This could be a flash crash or the start of a much longer decline. But Warren Buffett famously said “Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.” I see a lot of fear right now.

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

James Reynolds has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended SSP Group. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

More on Investing Articles

Young Asian man drinking coffee at home and looking at his phone
Investing Articles

2 recession-resistant UK stocks I’d buy and hold for a decade!

Our writer details two UK stocks she believes could still continue to perform well in a recession and not feel…

Read more »

Back view of blue NIO EP9 electric vehicle
Investing Articles

Down 31% this year! Is now the moment to buy NIO stock?

NIO stock has moved sharply downwards in the past couple of months. Christopher Ruane likes the business potential -- but…

Read more »

Smart young brown businesswoman working from home on a laptop
Investing Articles

2 dividend stocks I reckon could grow payouts for years to come!

This Fool is looking for dividend stocks and explains why these two picks could be primed to grow their payouts…

Read more »

Arrow symbol glowing amid black arrow symbols on black background.
Investing Articles

Should I buy, sell, or hold my Rolls-Royce shares at £3.50?

This Fool considers what he should do with his Rolls-Royce shares following the FTSE 100 company's excellent full-year results last…

Read more »

Couple working from home while daughter watches video on smartphone with headphones on
Investing Articles

With a spare £280, here’s how I’d start buying shares this March

Our writer reflects on what he has learnt on the stock market to explain how he would start buying shares…

Read more »

Businesswoman calculating finances in an office
Investing Articles

Are these expensive FTSE 100 stocks actually brilliant bargains?

Paul Summers takes a closer look at two FTSE 100 stocks that could recover strongly in time, despite already carrying…

Read more »

Investing Articles

What might the recent Aviva share price performance tell me as an investor?

Christopher Ruane looks at how the Aviva share price has performed over the past 12 months and considers whether he…

Read more »

Investing Articles

Down by a quarter, is the BT share price a steal?

The BT share price has more than halved in the past five years. What is holding it down -- and…

Read more »