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Cathay Pacific shares take a direct hit from Hong Kong protests

Data: FactSet; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The unrest in Hong Kong hit the market hard Tuesday as the Hang Seng Index fell 2.1%. The territory's flagship airline Cathay Pacific saw shares tumble 2.55%, after a 4.9% slide on Monday that pushed the stock to its lowest price in a decade.

The backdrop: Hong Kong International Airport once again stopped all flights after protesters occupied the building for a fourth straight day as part of escalating citywide protests against a law that would allow China to extradite and try citizens from Hong Kong in the mainland.

  • On Friday, China ordered Cathay Pacific to suspend any staff who supported the protests. More than 14,000 Cathay employees had reportedly joined an effort to shut down the airport that led to the cancellation of more than 200 flights.
  • Over the weekend, Cathay's management said they would abide by the Chinese government's demands, and warned workers they could be fired for supporting protests.

Watch this space: Steve Eisman, a fund manager portrayed in “The Big Short,” says the Hong Kong protests are his biggest worry, as they could endanger the likelihood of a trade deal between the U.S. and China and hurt the global economy.

  • “I think the potential black swan ... is what’s happening in Hong Kong right now,” Eisman, a managing director and senior portfolio manager at Neuberger Berman, said in an interview on CNBC.

Go deeper: Cathay Pacific threatens to fire staff who support Hong Kong protests