Online retail hammered, travel stocks soar on COVID-19 vaccine news

Online retail hammered, travel stocks soar on COVID-19 vaccine news

News that pharmaceutical giant Pfizer may have successfully developed a COVID-19 vaccine has lifted travel stocks but e-commerce companies and safe haven metal prices have tumbled.

Last week the Australian Government secured 10 million doses of Pfizer's vaccine candidate developed in conjunction with BioNTech, and that same product has now been shown to have more than 90 per cent efficacy at seven days after the second dose. 

This still leaves some room for potential exposure, and the German multinational has flagged it may not be able to develop non-frozen formulations. But its potential efficacy with no serious safety concerns led markets to gamble on a return to normality.

Investors dumped stocks in online retailers who had been buoyed by a population in isolation, and pulled funds from commodities such as gold and silver.

Kogan (ASX: KGN) fell almost 12 per cent and online furniture retailer Temple & Webster (ASX: TPW) shares dropped by a whopping 20 per cent, although both are still up substantially over the start of 2020.

Newly listed MyDeal.com.au (ASX: MYD) saw its shares fall by around 5.5 per cent, and online art group Redbubble (ASX: RBL) found itself out of the critics' favour with 17.9 per cent decline.

Buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) players that have facilitated retail resilience through these tough times also suffered today, with Zip Co (ASX: Z1P) shares down 7 per cent and Afterpay (ASX: APT) stocks dropping 8 per cent.

IDP Education Group (ASX: IEL), one of the ASX's biggest success stories of recent years whose revenue mostly comes from in-person English language testing, has seen its shares increase by 14.5 per cent today.

At the same time travel stocks, which had been hammered during the pandemic, were the darlings of the market again led by Helloworld Travel (ASX: HLO), which flew up by 21 per cent.

Flight Centre (ASX: FLT) rose by almost 12 per cent), Webjet (ASX: WEB) jumped 15 per cent, Corporate Travel Management (ASX: CTD) surged almost 17 per cent and investors flocked to Sydney Airport (ASX: SYD) with close to a 14 per cent lift. Similar movements were seen with NZX-listed travel stocks.

Investors have also bet that a pandemic-weary public will want some retail therapy after an arduous 2020, propping up the share prices of shopping centre owner Vicinity Centres (ASX: VCX) by around 15 per cent and Westfield owners Scentre Group (ASX: SCG) by close to 13 per cent.

Casino owner-operator The Star Entertainment Group (ASX: SGR) saw its shares rise by close to 8 per cent, while cinema powerhouse Event Hospitality and Entertainment (ASX: EVT) rose by 17 per cent.

Overnight there were significant drops for some of the largest work from home (WFH) beneficiaries internationally, including Amazon (-5 per cent), Zoom (-17 per cent), Shopify (-14 per cent), Alibaba (-4 per cent), Netflix (-9 per cent) and Ocado (-15 per cent).

And similarly to Australia, bricks-and-mortar department store majors saw upticks, including Nordstrom (+26 per cent), Macy's (+17 per cent) and T.J. Maxx owner TJX Companies (+13 per cent).

Theme park and entertainment giant Disney saw its shares rise by almost 12 per cent overnight. Other groups exposed to tourism saw significant price rises too, such as Marriott (+14 per cent), Accor (+22 per cent) and Hilton (+12 per cent).

Pfizer has enrolled 43,538 participants to date in its Phase 3 clinical trial of the BNT162b2 vaccine candidate, with enrolments ongoing until a final analysis when a total of 164 confirmed COVID-19 cases have been accrued.

The pharmaceutical company reports 38,955 participants had received their second dose of the vaccine as of 8 November, with data for potential emergency use authorisation expected to be available by the third week of November. 

Participants will also be monitored for long-term protection and safety for an additional two years after their second dose. 

Based on current projections, Pfizer expects to produce globally up to 50 million vaccine doses in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021.

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Business News Australia

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