March 11, 2020 / 2:56 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 2-Turkish lira slides, medical shares surge after first virus case

(Adds details on share price moves)

ISTANBUL, March 11 (Reuters) - The Turkish lira weakened and the main stock index fell on Wednesday on concerns over the country’s first confirmed coronavirus case, but shares in some sectors rose as investors expected some companies to benefit.

The lira stood at 6.1885 against the dollar at 1339 GMT, some 0.35% weaker than a close of 6.1575 on Tuesday. It had briefly hit 6.2025, its weakest in a week.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said early on Wednesday a citizen had tested positive for the novel coronavirus, making Turkey the last large, wealthy country to report an outbreak. He added Turkey was prepared to prevent a spread.

The shares of soccer clubs slipped on prospects of match disruptions. Fenerbahce was down 11.2% while peers Galatasaray and Besiktas plunged 13.6% and 14.4% respectively.

The global spread of the virus since it emerged in December has caused authorities to cancel flights, events and conferences while they try to protect the economy.

The main BIST100 share index was dragged down by 1.9%, while the banking index was down 1.6%.

Shares of pharmaceutical manufacturer Deva Holding were up 19.66% while Selcuk Ecza, a pharma distributer, climbed 18.4%. Hospitals group Medical Park traded down 0.7% after surging in morning trade, while Lokman Hekim rose 13.4%.

Turkish food retailers, whose stocks also surged, said they will continue meeting consumers’ demand and that they are not having supply chain and inventory related issues, Galip Aykac, the head of the sector association said.

The stock of Turkish retailer chain BIM, which operates some 7,500 stores in Turkey, rose by 6.63% while Migros rose by 8.25%.

Turkey revised its 2019 current account surplus up to $8 billion from a previously-announced $1.7 billion on Wednesday, a planned adjustment to calculations that could raise questions among investors and economists. (Reporting by Can Sezer and Ceyda Caglayan; Editing by Daren Butler/Dominic Evans)

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