KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia recorded its strongest performance in over two months on Tuesday with trading volume surging and investors piling into banks and leisure stocks while reducing their stakes in glove makers on the positive development of a Covid-19 vaccine.
At 5pm, the FBM KLCI had surged 50.75 points, or 3.33% to 1,575.07, the highest since mid-August. The index opened 2.37 points lower at 1,521.95 this morning.
The 3% gain is the biggest move since rising 6.85% on March 20. The index is up 7.77% in the past five days.
Trading volume surged to 12.31 billion shares valued at RM8.44bil. There were 747 positive counters versus 609 decliners and 331 unchanged.
Dealers said investors were buying into beaten-down shares such as travel, leisure and banking counters while dumping those which benefited from the Covid-19 pandemic such as glove manufacturers.
News of drugmaker Pfizer and German partner BioNTech's experimental vaccine being was more than 90% effective in preventing Covid-19 had pushed Wall Street to a higher close overnight and this saw the positive news spilling over to Asian markets.
Banking, travel and leisure, and energy stocks were among the biggest gainers on Bursa Malaysia.
Public Bank rose RM1.90 to RM17.20, Hong Leong Bank added RM1.48 to RM16.18, Maybank gained 54 sen to RM7.66 and RHB Bank advanced 47 sen to RM4.85.
Genting added 61 sen to RM3.60 and Genting Malaysia advanced 26 sen to RM2.38. Tenaga Nasional rose 94 sen to RM11.20.
AirAsia Group, AirAsia X (AAX) and Malaysia Airports (MAHB) jumped following the news. AirAsia jumped 27%, or 14.5 sen to 68 sen, AAX surged 62.5%, or 2.5 sen to 6.5 sen and MAHB rose 20.5%, or 89 sen to RM5.22.
On the other hand, Hartalega skidded RM2.52, or 13.83% to RM15.70, Kossan fell 92 sen, or 12.27% to RM6.58, Supermax declined 80 sen, or 8.31% to RM8.83 and Top Glove shed 68 sen, or 8% to RM7.80.
On the external front, major Asian markets soared on the vaccine news.
Reuters reported that Japan's Nikkei share average hit its best level in nearly three decades. The Nikkei rose 0.26% to close at 24,905.59 points after hitting its highest level since June 1991 during the session.
South Korea’s shares extended their rally to a seventh straight session on Tuesday, Reuters reported. The benchmark Kospi index closed up 5.63 points, or 0.23%, at 2,452.83.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was up 285.31 points, or 1.1%, at 26,301.48.
China’s blue-chip CSI300 index ended 0.6% lower at 4,953.88, after hitting a five-year high in the previous session. The Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.4%.