Travel stocks hit after deadly attacks in Brussels

Last Updated Mar 22, 2016 4:29 PM EDT

U.S. stocks ended little moved on Tuesday as the Nasdaq Composite Index rose for a fifth consecutive session and airline and other travel-related shares were hit as investors reacted to deadly explosions in Brussels.

Flights in and out of Brussels were canceled after the explosions at the Belgian capital's airport and a subway station killed at least 31 people and left more than 100 injured.

"Risk assets are hitting a rough patch today after a swatch of mixed data and saddening headlines has given investors reason to pause," Christopher Vecchio, currency analyst at DailyFX, emailed.

Comments from Republican front-runner Donald Trump drew a rebuke from the U.S. Travel Association.

"Words matter and move markets. It's just not realistic to ban religions, order war crimes, and end international travel," Roger Dow, president and CEO of the group, said in a statement. "Bombast and bluster are no substitutes for thoughtful leadership."

After the blasts in Brussels, the billionaire businessman reiterated his proposal for a crackdown on border security and repeated his prior support for using torture to gather information.

Starbucks (SBUX) closed all of its stores in Belgium following the attacks that reportedly had one of its workers at an outlet inside the Brussels airport sustaining minor injuries.

Facebook (FB) said it activated its Safety Check in Brussels. "Safety Check is a simple and easy way to say you're safe and check on others after a major disaster or crisis," a spokesperson for the social network emailed. "In 2015, more than 950 million people received a notification that a friend or loved one was safe in a crisis."

Spirit Airlines (SAVE) fell nearly 3 percent, while American Airlines (AAL), Priceline Group (PCLN) and Expedia (EXPE) all dropped more than 2 percent.

United Continental (UAL) and Southwest Airlines (LUV) each dropped roughly 1 percent.

Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL) fell 3 percent and Carnival (CCL) and Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH) both falling about 2 percent.

Railways were not immune, with Union Pacific (UNP) down 2.3 percent and CSX (CSX) off 1.1 percent.

Major indexes fluctuated between gains and losses during the session.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 41 points, or 0.2 percent at 17,583, with American Express (AXP) among the blue-chip shares weighing.

The S&P 500 index (SPX) fell 1.8 point, or 0.1 percent, to 2,050, with health leading gains and consumer staples falling the most among the gauges's 10 major sectors.

Erasing losses, the Nasdaq Composite rose 13 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,822.