Life Healthcare jumps on Biogen’s Alzheimer’s drug approval

By Adelaide Changole

(Bloomberg) – South Africa’s main equities gauge advanced 0.1% by 9:45 am in Johannesburg as Life Healthcare soared after the US Food and Drugs Administration approved Biogen’s Alzheimer’s drug.

The FDA approval makes Biogen the first new Alzheimer’s drug in almost 20 years. Life Healthcare rose as much as 18% to the highest level since April 2019.

Investors in South Africa are awaiting the release of South Africa’s first-quarter GDP, which will probably show Africa’s most industrialised economy expanded by an annualised 3.2% in the three months through March from the previous quarter, according to the median estimate of economists in a Bloomberg survey.

Peers in a number of Asian markets edged back Tuesday as investors await more clues on whether the recovery from the pandemic will stoke price pressures and imperil loose monetary policy.

Index giant Naspers, with a 15% weighting on the index, rises 0.6% to provide the biggest boost to the index, as partly owned online and gaming firm Tencent Holdings advances in Hong Kong.

Naspers holds a 29% stake in Tencent through subsidiary Prosus, which is up 0.5%

Index for bank stocks rise 0.8%, ahead of the quarterly GDP print.

FirstRand +1.4%, Standard Bank +1.3%, Absa Group +1%, Capitec Bank +0.6%, Invested +0.5%, Nedbank +0.1%

Life Healthcare peers in the index for health care companies surged 4.9%, to the highest since March 2019

Aspen Pharmacare +1.1%, Netcare +2.8%, Mediclinic International +1.2%.

British American Tobacco +2.2% after company increases revenue forecast as much as 5% in trading statement.

Industrial miners drop for a second day, down 0.2% to provide the biggest drag to the index

Anglo American -0.7%, BHP Group -0.1%, African Rainbow Minerals -1.5%, Glencore -0.6%, Kumba Iron Ore -0.5%, Thungela Resources -2.3%.

Foreigners were net sellers of South African equities for a second consecutive day Monday, disposing 232 million rand worth of shares, according to exchange operator JSE.

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