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Tourism, airline stocks soar on COVID vaccine breakthrough

Electronic signboards at the trading room of Hana Bank in Seoul show the benchmark Kospi closed at 2,447.2 on Nov. 9, 2020, up 30.7 points or 1.27 percent from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)
Electronic signboards at the trading room of Hana Bank in Seoul show the benchmark Kospi closed at 2,447.2 on Nov. 9, 2020, up 30.7 points or 1.27 percent from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)


Upon encouraging news on coronavirus vaccine testing in the US, stocks in travel, airline and retail sectors here surged, while stocks of contactless services providers and gold prices slid Tuesday.

US pharmaceutical firm Pfizer announced Monday that its experimental COVID-19 vaccine, developed jointly with its German partner BioNTech, was more than 90 percent effective in preventing the virus in participants of its latest trial.

Calling it a “great day for science and humanity,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said the trial showed that the company is a step closer to providing people around the world with a much-needed breakthrough to help bring an end to the ongoing global health crisis.

The upbeat news on the drug’s high efficacy boosted stocks of airlines and hotel businesses here.

Shares of the nation’s leading carrier Korean Air jumped by 23.62 percent to 26,950 won ($24.20) in the early morning trading session, but later traded at 24,600 won, up 12.84 percent, in late morning. The stock closed at 24,250 won, up 11.24 percent. Rival Asiana Airlines’ stock jumped 15.54 percent to 4,015 won in intraday trading, but droppd to end at 3,505 won, up 0.86 percent.

Some market analysts forecast domestic airlines that have been certified to deliver pharmaceutical drugs will benefit from shipping coronavirus vaccines down the road.

There are now 18 aircraft operators across the world that have received the Center of Excellence for Independent Validators in Pharmaceutical Logistics, or CEIV Pharma, certificate from the International Air Transport Association. Among the airliners are Korean Air, Asiana Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Air France.

High-end hotel chain Hotel Shilla’s shares soared 11.11 percent to 87,000 won in the early morning while stocks of tourism companies Modetour and Hanatour both increased more than 10 percent in the early morning. The hotel chain’s stock closed at 80,100 won, up 5.81 percent.

With expectations of the eventual lifting of travel restrictions in the Asian region, investors rushed to purchase stocks of cosmetics and commerce firms.

Cosmetics giant Amorepacific’s stocks traded 5.45 percent higher at 174,000 won in intraday trading, and ended 170,000 won, up 3.03 percent.

“Pfizer’s latest report on the vaccine has offered a glimpse of hope that everything will get back on track in 2021, and driven demand for risky assets,” said Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities.

Web portals, mobile messenger firms and mobile payment companies, all of which have rapidly grown in market cap during the ongoing coronavirus crisis, saw their stocks fall.

Stocks of internet giants Kakao and Naver dropped more than 4 percent while payment gateway business NHN KCP’s stock fell more than 6 percent.

Gold prices tanked 5 percent overnight to $1,854.4 an ounce -- one of the biggest daily percentage drops for years -- as demand for safe assets shrunk.

The rally in the domestic airline, tourism and retail sectors came on the heels of the stock market surge in the US fueled by Pfizer’s announcement on the vaccine trials.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 834.57 points, or 2.95 percent, to close at 29,157.97 -- one of the biggest one-day gains this year.

The S&P 500 index rose 1.2 percent to 3,550.5, but the tech-heavy Nasdaq ended down 1.53 percent at 11,713.78.

By Kim Young-won (wone0102@heraldcorp.com
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