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Vaccine hopes start surge on stock markets


Stockmarkets roared last night and into the day here in New Zealand after New York based pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech announced strong progress with COVID-19 vaccine trials.


The market rally that followe3d the breaking news kept excitement high in New York where street parties had continued into the weekend after former V-P Joe Biden secured the mandatory number of electoral college votes to win the US presidency election,

The trials held by Pfizer and BioNTech have involved 43,500 persons in six countries, and half of the number received a new form of vaccine that triggers body cells to self-manufacture antibodies ( the other half received a placebo).

Hopes are enormously high that the new vaccine will progress through further trials and commence early-stage manufacture.  This week in the US, CV-19 cases topped 100,000 a day and the medical systems in some states are close to breaking point

Wall St responded immediately and at 9 am NZ Time the Dow Jones Industrial Index had climbed 1486 points to 29,809.  Sellers at such record-breaking heights was inevitable and the rally ultimately closed the day at 29,157.97 for 834.57 points gain. Pfizer shares made only modest gains, +US$2.80 to US$39.20, up 7.7%.

Nasdaq listed BioNTech rose US12.80 to US$104.80 a rise of almost 14% - but the stock has been marked sharply twice before this year, once in March when it hit US$92 and again in July when it touched US$104.

In New Zealand the NZX-50 knee-jerked upwards, surging to 12,832.71 at 10am today, before price-takers reduced the daily gain to just 50.19 points at 12,612.39 at the close.

There were many gainers, and some significant losers. F&P Healthcare shares slid 452c to $32.43 on a (probably flawed) expectation that medical device sales will fall off. EBOS, a major supplier of medical devices and medical consumables, shed 33c to $25.50.  Pushpay dropped 49c to $8, more a response to a forthcoming share split than a reflection on whether a vaccine might reduce church-going (and giving).

Air NZ gained 12c to $1.62, +8%, Serko 46c or 9% to $5.50, SKYCITY 23c to $3.23 and THL 27c to $2.60 on expectations that where a vaccine goes regular travellers will follow. But when exactly?

Vista gained 30c to $1.80 on hopes its customer base of movie theatres in major countries will soon resume operations.

  Retailers Hallenstein Glasson (+13c to $6.24) and Kathmandu (+8c to $1.30) rose on the improved outlook that a vaccine solution would bring to consumer confidence, retail and travel. In KMD’s case hopefully in time for the American summer of mid-2021. Energy stock tore ahead today, Meridian romping 25c higher to $6.14, Contact Energy 25c to $8.10.

Fletchers meanwhile added another 69 at $5.19 on media focus about house-construction.

Mainfreight investors sensed higher volumes of goods would  follow any improvement in economic conditions, and rose 295c to $58.20.

It was left to US President-elect Joe Biden to calm down the markets from over-hyping the relief rally. He warned of a ‘dark winter’ ahead for America.  


And for lameduck (and still for two months US President) Donald Trump to rue the timing of the announcement which came only weeks after his claims of  a vaccine being on the way were rubbished as misleading – and just five days after the US Election.  


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