Stocks up as Covid-19 vaccine hopes support sentiment

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KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 14): The FBM KLCI closed up 6.51 points or 0.43% at 1,511.36 today with world share indices as news on the resumption of AstraZeneca’s clinical trials of its Covid-19 vaccine raised hopes.

Across Bursa Malaysia at 5pm, 9.57 billion securities were traded for RM6.47 million.

There were 732 gainers versus 300 decliners. MIDF Amanah Investment Bank Bhd research head Imran Yassin Yusof told theedgemarkets.com that gains in the local bourse today were "mainly on bargain hunting on glove counters".

Leading gainers included rubber glove manufacturers Supermax Corp Bhd and Top Glove Corp Bhd. 

Supermax’s share price closed up RM1.50 or 20% at RM9 while Top Glove added 82 sen or 10.57% to RM8.58.

Bursa-listed pharmaceutical shares also gained as investors took cue from the progress in AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine trials.

Pharmaniaga Bhd’s share price closed up 15 sen or 3.46% at RM4.49 while Duopharma Biotech Bhd rose 10 sen or 3.33% to RM3.10.

Globally, it was reported that world stocks rallied on Monday on hopes of a coronavirus vaccine after AstraZeneca resumed its phase-3 trial, but caution lingered before a host of central bank meetings this week. 

It was reported that the sterling, which has been hit by renewed Brexit turmoil, was on firmer ground before a vote on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's plan to break international law by breaching parts of the Brexit divorce treaty with the European Union.

"European stock markets opened broadly higher and US stock futures rallied more than 1% — suggesting a strong start for Wall Street later on. In Asia, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.9% to its highest in almost a week. Japan's Nikkei firmed 0.7% after Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga won a landslide victory in a ruling party leadership election, paving the way for him to succeed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

"Drugmaker AstraZeneca said at the weekend it has resumed British clinical trials of its Covid-19 vaccine, one of the most advanced in development, after getting the green light from safety watchdogs. The news provided a boost to sentiment in world share markets, hit last week by a selloff in US tech stocks,” Reuters reported.

Chong Jin Hun