Markets

Stock Market Wrap-Up: Norwegian Sinks on Stock and Bond Sales; Virgin Galactic Blasts Off With New CEO

Stock market investors continued to worry about the potential economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic Thursday, but the effect on the stock market hasn't been nearly as great as many would have thought. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI), S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC), and Nasdaq Composite were down just about the entire day, but the indexes managed to close off their lows of the session.

Today's stock market

Index

Percentage Change (Decline)

Point Change

Dow

(0.50%)

(135.39)

S&P 500

(0.34%)

(10.99)

Nasdaq Composite

(0.73%)

(76.66)

Data source: Yahoo! Finance.

Part of the reason for the uncertainty among market participants is the range of opinions that investors have in different stocks. Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NYSE: NCLH) gave up more ground today because it once again had to turn to the capital markets to raise money, and closed down 15.6%. Yet space tourism business Virgin Galactic Holdings (NYSE: SPCE) jumped on news that it's brought on a new executive to lead it forward and upward, ending Thursday with a gain of 13.5%

Norwegian keeps taking on water

Shares of Norwegian Cruise Line were down double-digit percentages most of Thursday. The cruise line operator has been under pressure for some time, and today it took costly steps to try to shore up its finances one more time.

Norwegian will sell $250 million in stock through a secondary stock offering. The company will use the proceeds for general corporate purposes, which at this point typically means covering fixed costs while it's unable to sail its ships.

Cruise ship at sea turning right, with colorful markings on the side.

Image source: Norwegian Cruise Line.

At the same time, Norwegian subsidiary NCL will sell debt to raise another $925 million. Of that, $675 million will be through a public offering of six-year notes, while another $250 million will come from a private placement of five-year exchangeable notes. That second deal allows bondholders to convert their notes into equity that eventually translates into shares of Norwegian. Proceeds will first go toward paying down a revolving credit facility of $675 million, with remaining funds used for general corporate purposes.

Investors fear dilution, which explains why the stock is down. Moreover, with high interest rates likely on the debt, Norwegian could have a tough time with interest payments down the road. Yet the company is fighting for its life right now, and that justifies the extreme means necessary to raise capital.

Virgin Galactic heads higher

Shares of Virgin Galactic, meanwhile, were up double-digit percentages on Thursday. The company made a move in the corporate suite that could signal a dramatic shift in its prospects.

Current Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides will step down from the chief executive role on July 20 and take the new role of chief space officer, with the job of developing future business opportunities like hypersonic commercial travel and orbital space travel.

In his place, Disney (NYSE: DIS) executive Michael Colglazier will step into the CEO seat. Colglazier has been a leader at the Disney Parks International division, with responsibility for international park and resort properties and operations. That experience will be especially important, because Virgin Galactic has realized that customers will be happier if they get a full pre-flight experience for their six-figure fare along with the short space flight.

Investors like the idea of turning Virgin's Spaceport America into a destination attraction for space lovers (even those who can't afford to pay for an actual flight right now). If Colglazier can push that growth initiative, it could do wonders for Virgin Galactic's vision for the future.

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Dan Caplinger owns shares of Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc and Walt Disney and recommends the following options: long January 2021 $60 calls on Walt Disney and short October 2020 $125 calls on Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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