Pfizer shock takes stocks lower after super-pill announcement

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Pfizer shock takes stocks lower after super-pill announcement

A screen at Hana Bank's trading room in central Seoul shows the Kospi closing at 2,960.2 points on Monday, down 9.07 points, or 0.31 percent, from the previous trading day. [NEWS1]

A screen at Hana Bank's trading room in central Seoul shows the Kospi closing at 2,960.2 points on Monday, down 9.07 points, or 0.31 percent, from the previous trading day. [NEWS1]

 
Drug makers took a hit after Pfizer announced highly promising results from tests of a pill to treat Covid-19, knocking the market more broadly and taking the Kospi down for the day.
 
The benchmark Kospi fell 9.07 points, or 0.31 percent, to close at 2,960.2 on Monday compared to the previous trading day.  
 
New York’s Pfizer said that its antiviral treatment candidate, named Paxlovid, cuts the risk of hospitalization or death by 89 percent in interim analysis released last Friday, dragging down investment sentiment for local drug makers working on either Covid-19 treatments or vaccines.  
 
SK Bioscience, which is on track to conduct trials for its Covid-19 vaccine candidate GBP510, tumbled 14.2 percent to 220,500 won ($186). Samsung Biologics plunged 4.75 percent to close at 823,000 won as it is a contract manufacturer of multiple Covid-19 antibody treatments.  
 
Celltrion dropped 5.74 percent to 197,000 won, marking the first time that it dipped below the 200,000-won level. Celltrion developed an antibody Covid-19 treatment called Regkirona, which has been approved for emergency use in Korea.  
 
Covid-19 test kit maker Seegene fell 4.7 percent to 50,700 won, and Shin Poong Pharmaceutical lost 7.1 percent to 46,450 won.
 
"Bio stocks slumped on reports about positive test results of the Covid-19 pill, while stocks related to economic reopening advanced," Eugene Securities analyst Huh Jae-hwan said.  
 
Trading volume was moderate at about 551 million shares worth some 10.2 trillion won, with gainers outnumbering losers 502 to 352.
 
Foreigners sold a net 122 billion won, while retail investors bought 366 billion won. Institutions offloaded a net 273 billion won.
 
Foreign and institutional sell-offs led the Kospi’s retreat.
 
Samsung Electronics added 0.57 percent to 70,600 won, and chipmaker SK hynix increased 0.47 percent to 107,500 won.
 
Internet portal operator Naver dropped 0.61 percent to 408,000 won, and Kakao fell 2.72 percent to 125,000 won.  
 
Hyundai Motor closed unchanged at 215,000 won, and Kia edged up 0.11 percent to 88,100 won.  
 
LG Chem fell 1.91 percent to 771,000 won and rechargeable battery maker SK Innovation climbed 0.21 percent to 234,000 won. Samsung SDI shed 1.46 percent to 744,000 won.  
 
Kakao Bank shed 2.8 percent to 55,600 won, and Kakao Pay plummeted 9.71 percent to 153,500 won.
 
The Kosdaq gained 1.15 points, or 0.11 percent, to close at 1,002.50.  
 
The local currency closed at 1,183.1 won against the dollar, down 2.1 won from the previous session's close.
 
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year government bonds added 0.4 basis point to 2.040 percent, and the yield on the benchmark 10-year government bond gained 5.3 basis points to 1.6 percent.
 
 
 

BY LEE TAE-HEE, PARK EUN-JEE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]
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