Stocks rise on hopes that Pfizer vaccine will end the pandemic
Korean travel-related stocks rallied Tuesday on growing hopes that the Covid-19 pandemic could be brought under control after Pfizer reported promising results for its new coronavirus vaccine.
Pfizer announced Monday that its vaccine candidate developed with BioNTech SE was found to be more than 90 percent effective in preventing Covid-19, signaling progress in the global fight against the pandemic.
The benchmark Kospi rose 5.63 points, or 0.23 percent, to close at 2,452.83.
Local airline stocks, which have taken a beating this year from the pandemic, were buoyed by the report.
Shares in Korea's largest carrier, Korean Air Lines, soared 11.24 percent to 24,250 won ($22), outperforming the broader Kospi's 0.23 percent gain. The carrier's stock price spiked as high as 23.62 percent during the session.
Shares in the country's second-largest carrier Asiana Airlines rose 0.86 percent to 3,505 won, while the country's top low-cost carrier, Jeju Air, jumped 11.11 percent to 15,000 won. Rival budget carrier T'way Air climbed 10 percent to 2,640 won.
Shares in travel agencies also shot up on hopes for Pfizer's vaccine, with top tour agency Hana Tour rising 9.17 percent to 44,050 won, while smaller Mode Tour added 6.9 percent to 15,500 won.
Travel businesses have been some of the industry's hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, as air travel has largely been severed due to concerns of virus transmissions.
Korea currently enforces a mandatory 14-day self-isolation policy for inbound travelers.
Shares in local pharmaceutical firms that have raced to develop vaccines against the novel coronavirus closed mixed on progress in Pfizer's vaccine.
Shares of SK Chemicals rose 1.45 percent to 456,000 won.
Shares in small biopharmaceutical maker Genexine, which is also working toward a Covid-19 vaccine, tumbled 10.51 percent to close at 111,500 won.
The Kosdaq dropped 10.42 points, or 1.22 percent, to close at 840.79.
The local currency closed at 1,115.5 won per dollar, down 1.6 won from the previous session’s close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year bonds added 1.2 basis points to 0.973 percent, and the return on the 10-year bond added 11.9 basis points to 0.93 percent.
BY LEE JEE-YOUNG, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]