These ASX stocks are surging (and falling) on the Pfizer vaccine news
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This morning ASX stocks are reacting to news that a potential COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer appears 90 per cent effective.
Preliminary data from a late stage clinical trial from a vaccine candidate made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech showed only 94 infections among 44,000 participants across six countries including the US.
While Australia has secured a vaccine deal for this candidate it only provides for 10 million shots – 40 per cent of Australia’s population.
The news was been lauded by the World Health Organisation as well as Australia’s health minister Greg Hunt. ASX traders have reacted to the Pfizer results too, with big swings from sector to sector.
The travel and tourism sector has been one of the biggest hit by COVID-19, losing 43 per cent in the six months to mid-May.
While gradual recovery since then has taken its 12-month decline to just 5 per cent in the red, many stocks had surges not seen in months.
The biggest winners from the Pfizer vaccine news included travel agencies Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) and Helloworld (ASX:HLO), airlines Qantas (ASX:QAN) and Air New Zealand (ASX:AIZ) as well as airport transfer marketplace Jayride (ASX:JAY).
Many of these stocks have spent several months telling investors why they’re better equipped to handle the pandemic from their niche markets to their balance sheets.
But for many of them a vaccine can be the only return to normal – a point admitted by Qantas boss Alan Joyce last week when he said resuming flagship routes to Europe and the US would need a vaccine.
One peculiar ASX stock winning from the Pfizer news was serviced office provider Victory Offices (ASX:VOL), which listed on the ASX at $2 per share last year and fell to just 10 per cent of that when the pandemic broke out.
While debate continues about whether working from home will be here to stay, it goes without saying a vaccine will make returning to the offices en masse feasible.
Victory Offices shares rose over 60 per cent in early trade as investors finally believed its stance that its clientele could someday return.
Its peer, Westfield shopping centre lessor Scentre (ASX:SCG), also saw a notable rise this morning by 15 per cent.
On Wall Street the most high profile loser was the pandemic’s most high profile winner in Zoom Communications (NDQ:ZOOM). It dropped 17 per cent.
Nevertheless, other ASX stocks which had benefited from people being at home more than usual (although not necessarily from people working) did see a drop after the Pfizer vaccine news.
Meal kit delivery stock Marley Spoon (ASX:MMM) fell nearly 20 per cent.
Another loser today from the Pfizer vaccine results was one of the ASX’s biggest winning stocks since COVID-19 broke out; namely, bug killer Zoono (ASX:ZNO) which fell 12 per cent this morning.
The stock went from 8 cents in October last year to as high as $3.20 in early July due to unprecedented demand for its products.
Arguably investors believe a vaccine will be a “magic bullet” that ends the pandemic.
Investors in COVID-19 test kit maker Atomo Diagnostics (ASX:AT1) were more cautious with that stock only falling 2 per cent today.
But a vaccine would not necessarily mark that point and in any event the company has other business lines (in particular HIV test kits).
Last night the spot gold price fell over 5 per cent as did the silver spot price by 7 per cent.
Gold has for decades been viewed as a safe haven asset but in recent months has been one of the few assets to balance risk and return in a low interest rate environment.
Today on the ASX the average gold stock actually saw a modest 0.75 per cent gain. But only 21 were in positive territory while 62 were unchanged and 135 fell.
Many of the biggest ASX’s biggest gainers from the current gold bull market (dating back to 2016) were among the biggest laggards from the Pfizer vaccine news.