Coronavirus: Vaccine news sends tech stocks into freefall

While markets around the world have skyrocketed with the news of a potentially effective vaccine against COVID-19, not all shareholders will be celebrating.

Stocks in companies that skyrocketed during the pandemic have gone into freefall - particularly tech firms whose services became invaluable when leaving the house was a big no-no.

"We knew all along that any potential vaccine was a potentially a game-changer," economist Cameron Bagrie told The AM Show on Tuesday.

"The markets have literally soared - last time I looked the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up about 4 percent."

The Dow Jones briefly topped 30,000 for the first time in its history on Tuesday (NZ time) when Pfizer and BioNTech announced their COVID-19 vaccine - currently in human trials - appeared to be 90 percent effective at stopping infections.

It's since tempered slightly, currently sitting at 29,193 - its highest since September, before the United States' massive third wave of coronavirus infections began, and up 3 percent for the day.

Pfizer and BioNTech predictably saw their share prices rise -  7.7 percent and 13.9 percent, respectively - and gains have also been made by US companies which stand to gain from the economy reopening, such as airlines and cruise operators. 

Movie theatre chain AMC Entertainment, on the verge of bankruptcy, saw its stocks rise 51 percent. Banks and oil companies also saw their values rise.

But the tech-heavy NASDAQ index has plummeted on the news - dropping 4.5 percent.

Zoom, which provides video conferencing over the internet, was relatively unknown at the start of the pandemic. Its shares rose more than 650 percent between January and this week.

Amazon and Netflix were up 79.2 percent and 59.1 before the vaccine announcement, Shopify up 162 percent.

They're all down - Zoom by 17 percent, Amazon by 5 and Netflix 8, home exercise equipment maker Peloton 13 percent and e-commerce platform Shopify nearly 14 percent.

Online retailers Etsy and Wayfair have also recorded double-digit drops in their share price.

"We've seen the obvious winners - tourism companies, airlines et al - but traditional retailing, which got pummelled over COVID, well they're up," said Bagrie.

"You're online retailing, they're down - Zoom, Netflix, they're down. But your more traditional companies that really got pummelled during COVID, they're off to the races again." 

New Zealand's NZX jumped 1.8 percent on its opening Tuesday morning. The UK's FTSE is up 4 percent, Japan's Nikkei 2 percent and hard-hit Spain's IBEX index up 8.6 percent.