22 June 2024, Saturday | 10:33am

Aviation stocks up on industry revival prospect after vaccine trial success


KUALA LUMPUR: Shares of Malaysian aviation companies move up today, in line with gains of global aviation stocks on Wednesday following the successful Phase 3 trial of Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine candidate.

AirAsia Group Bhd and Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) saw their shares edging up again, with investors perhaps ignoring some research firms' "sell" or "reduce" calls on certain aviation counters following the fallout of Covid-19.

AirAsia gained 3.88 per cent or 2.5 sen to close at 67 sen today, while MAHB added 0.56 per cent or three sen to RM5.36 from its Wednesday closing of RM5.33.

AirAsia X Bhd, however, bucked the trend, losing 8.33 per cent to close at 5.5 sen.

On Tuesday, AirAsia was Bursa Malaysia's seventh most active stock, rising 27 per cent to close at 68 sen while sister airline AirAsia X was the second most active, gaining 62 per cent to close at six sen.

MAHB opened at RM4.80 on Tuesday and ended up gaining 42 sen to RM5.22.

The sky-high optimism particularly on AirAsia and AirAsia X tapered off on Wednesday but was reignited on Thursday.

CGS-CIMB Research has an "underweight" call on the sector in general, despite the positive vaccine-related news.

It has a "reduce" tag on AirAsia given the airline's equity-raising has yet to be finalised.

The promise of a vaccine, CGS-CIMB said, had helped lift the most-battered aviation names, adding that it remained cautious on local and regional airline stocks due to their inherent risks.

"We are not yet turning more positive on the sector as we think market sentiment is running too far ahead of fundamentals," the firm said in a report.

Although airlines' share prices had given up some of their gains today, airport stocks continued their rise, in a classic mean reversion towards cyclicals and industrials, but probably also due to investors' fear of missing out, CGS-CIMB noted.

"It may be difficult for vaccines to be widely available until mid-2021, and the World Health Organisation's plan is to deliver two million doses by end-2021, which represent around 26 per cent of the global population of 7.8 billion today.

"This may enable only partial, gradual, and cautious border re-openings across the globe. Our earnings estimates incorporate reasonable recovery assumptions, which may even run the risk of being too optimistic," it added.

CGS-CIMB said the best-performing regional stocks to date - Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) and Airports of Thailand - were the relative laggards in Wednesday's rally, while the worst-performing stocks rose the most.

The firm, however, said airport stocks could benefit from the recovery and were lower risk than airlines, with ACV and MAHB, which is now above the RM5.14 target, as CGS-CIMB's top "add" picks.

Source: New Straits Times


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