SleAsean Glove shares rebound following new virus variant

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SleAsean Glove shares rebound following new virus variant

A new coronavirus variant in South Africa is giving investors a new lease of life to the shares of Southeast Asian glove makers which had slumped this year after becoming one of the hottest pandemic trades in 2020.

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The new virus strain could cause a surge in demand for protective gear, just like Covid-19 did last year, according to producers of medical gloves.

In Malaysia, Top Glove Corp. went up by 15% since September 2020, the most since September 2020. Supermax Corp. climbed by as much as 16%, while Hartalega Holdings Bhd was up against it. More than 11% of the population rose. Similar stocks listed in Singapore and Thailand also went up.

The magnitude of the bounce was the biggest in months for some of the cohort that had given up most of their pandemic gains this year due to vaccine rollouts, economic reopening and forced labor allegations. The Malaysian manufacturers' equal-weighted basket was more than halved this year, with the three being the worst performers in the MSCI Asean Index.

The rally was powerful enough to make the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCIBursa Malaysia KLCI benchmark better than the MSCI Asia Pacific Index. It saw a 0.5% decline compared to a 1.9% decline in the regional benchmark.

More than $1 of every $10 invested in the Malaysian stock market was a bet on gloves a feat that makes the Southeast Asian nation a play on global hygiene, much like South Korea and Taiwan are for semiconductors.

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