KLCI rises, Duopharma spikes to record high on Covid-19 vaccine optimism

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KUALA LUMPUR (July 21): The FBM KLCI closed 6.48 points or 0.41% higher at 1,595.93 today, tracking global stock gains following news on hopes of a Covid-19 vaccine and the European Union (EU) stimulus package.

Such hopeful sentiment on a Covid-19 vaccine also led to higher crude oil prices, which in turn lifted Bursa Malaysia-listed oil and gas (O&G)-related shares. Hopes for a Covid-19 vaccine also helped pharmaceutical company Duopharma Biotech Bhd’s share price spike to a record high.

Malacca Securities Sdn Bhd head of research Loui Low told theedgemarkets.com that the market is banking on the recovery in the global economy amid the news on Covid-19 vaccine hopes.

“The positive news on vaccine trials also sent crude oil prices high, to a level similar [to] back in March,” he said.

Across Bursa, the exchange saw 9.34 billion shares worth RM5.39 billion traded. Gainers led decliners by 634 to 428 respectively. 

Top gainers included pharmaceutical companies Pharmaniaga Bhd and Duopharma. 

Duopharma’s share price closed up 38 sen or 20% at RM2.28 after rising to its record high of RM2.40 in afternoon trades today.

Actively-traded stocks included O&G-related Sapura Energy Bhd and Velesto Energy Bhd. 

Sapura Energy ended with a trade volume of some 125 million shares. The stock’s price closed up one sen or 11.11% at 10 sen.

Globally, it was reported that Asian shares hit a five-month high and European equity market futures extended gains on Tuesday after EU leaders agreed on a massive stimulus plan for their coronavirus-blighted economies.

It was reported that hopes that vaccines against the Covid-19 disease might be ready by the end of the year also supported riskier assets, following promising early data from trials of three potential vaccines.

Meanwhile, crude oil prices edged higher to above US$40 a barrel on Tuesday on positive news on vaccine trials, but are still within the narrow trading band of the past three weeks amid fears that new lockdowns could derail a recovery in demand.

"An experimental coronavirus vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca and Britain's University of Oxford was safe and produced an immune response in early-stage clinical trials, data showed, keeping alive the hope it could be in use by the end of the year.

"More than 150 possible vaccines are in various stages of development with US drugmaker Pfizer and China's CanSino Biologics also reporting positive responses for their candidates on Monday,” Reuters reported.

Bloomberg reported that stocks advanced globally alongside US equity futures after European leaders reached a deal on a landmark stimulus package. 

CMC Markets Asia Pacific Pty chief market strategist Michael McCarthy was quoted as saying: “The market, particularly tech stocks, is rallying on both good news and bad news, that tells us it’s all about momentum and not about the facts. 

“There are concerns we could see significant pullbacks before we make further gains, but at the moment you can’t stand in front of the train that is the Nasdaq 100 Index.”