Hazmat suit stocks soar on Ebola fears
It’s a great time to be a hazmat suit maker.
The stock price of Lakeland Industries has soared more than 170 percent this month on growing fears the deadly Ebola virus could spread overseas.
The New York-based company makes the hazardous material suits being worn by medical workers in West Africa, where the worst Ebola outbreak in history has claimed the lives of more than 4,000 people.
Trading volumes in Lakeland Industries exploded in recent days after a Liberian man was diagnosed with Ebola on U.S. soil. Shrewd investors laid bets that demand for the company’s special seam sealed protective suits would increase as the crisis continues.
On Sept. 30, more than 75,000 shares in Lakeland Industries changed hands. That reached more than 47 million shares on Thursday — a record high — following reports that Thomas Eric Duncan had succumbed to the virus at a Dallas hospital.
The Nasdaq-listed stock was trading above $19 on Friday, compared with $6.95 on Sept. 30.
Over the same period the Nasdaq has fallen more than 3 percent.
Lakeland Industries announced in September that it was making its specialized suits available worldwide “for use in handling the Ebola virus” and that it was ramping up production of the garments to meet growing demand.
"Lakeland stands ready to join the fight against the spread of Ebola," Christopher J. Ryan, president and chief executive officer of Lakeland Industries, said in a statement.
"We understand the difficulty of getting appropriate products through a procurement system that in times of crisis favors availability over specification, and we hope our added capacity will help alleviate that problem.”
Lakeland Industries isn’t the only stock to benefit from the growing panic over Ebola.
Shares in Alpha Pro Tech, which makes face masks, eye shields, shoe covers and other protective products, have more than doubled this month amid frenetic trading.
Its stock hovered around $7 on Friday, compared with $3.25 on Sept. 30.
This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.