SINGAPORE (Jan 28): Glove manufacturers and healthcare stocks listed on the Singapore Exchange continued their ascent today as the spread of the coronavirus originating from Wuhan included more countries and pushed the death toll higher.

As at 2.45 pm, three glove manufacturers led the top gainers.

Top Glove Corp added 55 cents or 28.9% at $2.45, with 831,800 shares changing hands.

Riverstone Holdings increased 18 cents or 17.6% at $1.20, with traded volume of 4.8 million shares.

UG Healthcare Corp gained 8 cents or 51.6% at 23.5 cents, with 7.1 million shares changing hands.

Healthcare stocks – such as Medtecs International Corp and IHH Healthcare – also moved higher.

The former, which was the most heavily traded stock, rose 4.5 cents or 43.2% at 14.9 cents, while the latter climbed 4 cents or 2% at $1.95, with 122,500 shares changing hands.

Medtecs manufactures surgical attire, patient apparel and medical bandages. The company is also a distributor of medical devices, such as digital blood pressure equipment and respiratory treatment equipment.

IHH is an operator of hospitals, medical centres, clinics and ancillary healthcare businesses across Singapore, Malaysia, China, Hong Kong and other countries.

Late yesterday, Germany declared its first confirmed case of the coronavirus of a man in the town of Starnberg, 30 kilometre southwest of Munich, according to Reuters.

The patient is in “good condition” and isolated under medical observation, Reuters quoted Bavaria’s health department in a statement posted on its website. It did not disclose any details of the patient’s age or nationality.

With the first confirmed case in Germany, the outbreak of the coronavirus has now spread to 14 countries, including Singapore.

There were more than 4,500 confirmed cases worldwide, including a fifth case in Singapore, thus far.

China has reported 106 deaths, with none outside the Middle Kingdom as yet.

DBS Group Research says glove makers such as Top Glove and Riverstone could benefit from the outbreak of the coronavirus.

“The growing anxiety of the deadly virus is expected to result in higher consumption of medical gloves that could translate into better earnings for glove makers for 1Q20. A prolonged outbreak will further increase glove shipments,” it says in a Jan 24 report.

Eli Lee, head of investment strategy at the Bank of Singapore, says that the healthcare sector is another obvious beneficiary of the coronavirus outbreak.

“Similar to the SARS episode, the healthcare sector is outperforming during the escalation phase of this epidemic and we expect this to continue as the rate of infection continues to rise,” he writes in a Jan 24 note.

DBS, however, notes that hospital players could face higher operating costs as use of consumables and preventive measures increase during the outbreak, and elective procedures are postponed.

Still, it adds that private hospitals could see a surge in patients post the period as delayed elective procedures are performed.