Asia-Pacific Casino Stocks Soar on Vaccine Hopes

Is it the beginning of the end? Investors around the world certainly think so as blue-chip stocks saw their biggest resurgence in months following the news that. The hopes of developing a coronavirus vaccine were heightened this week as Pfizer announced a major breakthrough in its research into a working vaccine for the virus that’s caused so much economic catastrophe over the past 12 months.

Financial markets.

Financial markets across the world saw blue-chip and casino stocks surge for the first time in months as investors reacted positively to higher prospects of demand for the leisure and travel industries returning after the vaccine is released. ©AhmadArdity/Pixabay

It was all positive in Singapore this week as airline and casino stocks showed their first signs of life all year. Following a similar resurgence on Wall Street the day before, Singapore listed companies in the leisure and travel industries saw their stocks rally following the news of Pfizer and BioNTech breakthrough on the coronavirus vaccine development.

Travel restrictions and quarantine measures initiated by local governments have severely damaged the tourism and gaming sectors in recent months. Both depend heavily on the free movement of people for their revenue. The news about a vaccine breakthrough has uplifted global economies and provided a sense that “return to normal” could be coming sooner than previously forecasted.

Taking a glance over capital markets this week, and it would appear that airline and casino stocks are back in play. Australia’s Qantas gained 8.33% and Singapore Airlines shares were up 13.99%. Casino operators jumped too, Wynn Macau rose 9.95% and Melco International Development saw an uptick of 6.84%. Even Crown Resorts, in the midst of a money-laundering investigation, saw its stock price rise by 4.60%.

The oil sector saw another leap in its stock price as investors responded well to an improvement in the demand prospects of the commodity. Hong Kong-listed companies including PetroChina and CNOOC broke their extended lull-period with sharp raises in value of 6 – 13 % respectively.

Stay-at-home Companies See Values Drop

The gains being made by the travel and casino industries have been inversely matched by a fall in the share price of ‘stay-at-home’ and defensive stocks. Some of those include video game manufacturers, online supermarket chains, and delivery companies. These included Nintendo, the Japanese firm had seen sales soar during the pandemic, but this week their shares fell by 4.49%. Similarly, Sony shares lost 3.25% on its value.

Other areas of the financial markets that were affected by the coronavirus vaccine breakthrough appear to be gold-related assets. The precious metal was seen as a safe haven for investors to store their wealth this year as the capital markets to major hits. Companies directly affected by this include Newcrest Mining and Evolution Mining, both saw share price drops of 4.84% and 10.39% respectively.

These interesting insights have been on the horizon the whole time, but with Pfizer’s announcement this week the prospect of rotating an entire investment portfolio has come immediately into view. With more pharmaceutical companies around the world all expected to make significant breakthroughs on the vaccine project in the coming weeks, financial analysts and investors are weighing up the best moves to take.

Not Out the Woods Yet

Pfizer and BioNTech announced this week that they had produced a vaccine that was 90% effective in preventing a patient from being infected with the COVID-19 virus. This rate was applicable to patients with no previous infection recorded.

This efficacy rate was much higher than forecasted, as researchers had expected and hoped to achieve an efficacy rate of close to 75% effectiveness. White House infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci had previously said that a coronavirus vaccine that is 50% or 60% effective would be an acceptable and workable solution.

Whilst financial markets have responded in an overly positive way to the news of a vaccine in development, the Economist Intelligence Unit’s chief executive Agathe Demarais issued a warning that we’re not out of the woods yet. Caution remains paramount as there are significant challenges still to overcome before a widely-available vaccine will be being given to patients.

There are manufacturing and logistical problems to overcome before the entire world will have immediate access to a vaccine. In terms of economic recovery, it will likely be sluggish and asymmetric. Certain industries have been damaged irreversibly, and global GDP is not forecasted to fully recover until late-2022 at the earliest. This timeframe can be extended for several countries including Japan and Italy according to the Economist Intelligence Unit.

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