By Kwanwoo Jun
South Korean travel stocks rallied Thursday, as fears over the Omicron variant eased significantly on news that existing Covid-19 vaccines can provide some protection against the new strain.
Travel company Hanatour Service Inc. jumped as much as 5.9% to KRW81,000 in early trade, outperforming the benchmark Kospi's gain of less than 1%. Airlines also advanced, with Korean Air Lines Co. and Asiana Airlines Inc. rising 2.2% and 4.6%, respectively.
The rally reflects growing optimism that the Omicron variant, which had prompted stricter border and travel restrictions, should be less damaging to the economy than initially feared.
Pfizer Inc. said Wednesday that a third dose of its vaccine neutralized the new Covid-19 strain in early lab tests. The U.S. pharmaceutical company is also working with partner BioNTech SE to create an Omicron-specific vaccine that they hope to have available by March 2022.
The ebbing Omicron concerns Thursday also helped boost South Korean gambling and retail stocks, which are usually vulnerable to Covid-19 restrictions that can curb visitor traffic.
Casino operator Kangwon Land Inc. gained as much as 3.5% and retailer Shinsegae Co. rose 3.2% in morning trade.
Write to Kwanwoo Jun at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
December 08, 2021 22:43 ET (03:43 GMT)Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.