Rising Estonian stocks and euro drive up Baltic Index

  • 2000-04-27
Rising stock prices in Estonia and the influence of the falling euro on Latvian and Lithuanian stocks helped push up the blue-chip Baltic Index last week. The Baltic Index gained 2.33 percent to 116.76, with 13 stocks gaining and two slipping on the Baltic List of the region's blue-chips. The euro's slide helped push up Latvian and Lithuanian stock prices as the lat is pegged to the SDR, while the litas to the US dollar, with the index calculated in euros.

Nevertheless, it was Estonian stocks, which are pegged to the euro through the German mark, that posted the sharpest rise, jumping 3.67 percent to 108.14.

The Tallinn Stock Exchange's TALSE index gained 3.14 percent to 157.88. Except for Hansapank, whose share price slid because of a dividend payment, all other shares gained. Shares in Norma, Eesti Telekom and Uhispank posted strong gains of between 6.0-8.5 percent.

The Lithuanian composite index gained 1.39 percent to 121.74, due exclusively to the euro's weakness, as not one share posted a gain in terms of litas. The Lithuanian National Stock Exchange's indexes, calculated in litas, did not post such sharp changes. The official list LITIN index was up 0.18 percent to 586.86, while the LITIN-10 price index gained 0.77 percent to 1156.45.

The Latvian composite index gained 1.29 percent to 126.89, thanks to the falling euro and a sharp rise in Balta's share price. The Riga Stock Exchange's indexes fell, however. The cap-weighted DJRSE index fell 0.97 percent to 112.19, and the RICI price index fell 1.61 percent to 185.23.

Thanks to Estonian stocks the turnover of Baltic List stocks increased by 20 percent over the previous week to 7.93 euros ($7.45). Estonian shares accounted for 86.36 percent of of the total with turnover of 6.85 million euros. Latvian stocks generated turnover of 0.96 million euros, 12.08 percent, and Lithuanian stocks 124,000 euros, 1.56 percent.

Baltic List stocks accounted for most of the turnover in Estonia and Latvia (77-90 percent), though just five percent in Lithuania. Total market capitalization increased 3.3 percent to 2.78 billion euros on April 28. Capitalization of Estonian stocks increased by 2.5 percent to 2.06 billion euros, Latvian stock capitalization increased by 0.2 percent to 433.5 million euros, and Lithuanian capitalization increased by 1.4 percent to 210 million euros.

Estonia: Good news props up market

News which hit the Estonian stock market after a sleepy first half of the outgoing week gave an overall boost to price levels. The TALSE index finished at 157.88 on Friday, up 3.14 percent from Friday the week before.

The only Estonian stock quoted on the Baltic List to drop last week was Hansapank, whose fall was due to the dividend payment.

After thin trading at the start of the week, activity picked up in the last two days when important news generated motion on the market, Hansapank trader Romet Tepper said. Norma, which had climbed higher in anticipation of first-quarter results, posted further gains after the release of results that substantially exceeded expectations, the trader said. Norma put on 8.59 percent during the week to close at 45.50 kroons ($2.73) on Friday. The share turnover during the week was 16.7 million kroons.

Telekom also performed well, climbing 8.43 percent to 135 kroons on trading of 9.3 million kroons. The rise of Telekom started when call options made at higher levels were closed, Tepper said. Also having a positive effect on the share was the performance of the telecoms sector on other markets worldwide, Tepper said.

The only main-list issue that weakened from its opening, though nominally, was Hansapank, which shed a dividend of five kroons. Tepper said it was positive that the share didn't lose more than the dividend.

Having hit 140.50 kroons during the week, Hansapank closed at 136.75 kroons Friday. Its turnover was 68.2 million kroons, the biggest for any separate issue during the week, with nearly a third of the turnover originating from one block deal concluded on Friday. More active trading Friday with Optiva Bank shares was expected as speculation is rife about the price of a buyout offer to minority holders by the bank's would-be Finnish owner Sampo Finance, a joint holding of the Finnish insurance companies Sampo and Kaleva, which has made an offer for a majority of Optiva's shares to the Estonian central bank.

Total turnover on the bourse was 117.8 million kroons.

Latvia: Stocks slip

Despite the stability of the Riga Stock Exchange's major stock, Latvijas Unibanka, the bourse's indexes slipped as most shares slid last week. The cap-weighted DJRSE index slipped 0.97 percent to 112.19, while the RICI price index dropped 1.61 percent to 185.23. But the Baltic List's Latvian composite index climbed 1.29 percent to 126.89 points as Balta's shares shot up 7.24 percent to 6.66 euros. The gain in Balta's share price was on a turnover of just 733 euros, which doesn't really give an indication of any longer term direction.

Trading in Ventspils Nafta's shares was the most active last week with a turnover of 640,000 euros. The stock slid 4.0 percent, however, to 1.51 euros. In lats the fall was 5.7 percent to 0.84 lats ($1.40). The fall in the oil terminal's share price was just another indication that the privatization agency's attempt to sell shares at 1.94 lats was a farce. The April 28 auction sold just one of the five million shares offered at that price.

The only real stable stock on the Riga Stock Exchange remains Unibanka. In lats it was unchanged last week at 1.62 lats, but gained 1.73 percent because of the weakening euro, to 2.19 euros. The stock market is likely to be influenced next week by the process of forming a new government, where chances of getting a government in office by May 4 seems to have diminished somewhat.

Share turnover on the bourse during the four-day week was 685,000 lats.

Lithuania: Economic growth lifts market

The Lithuanian National Stock Exchange was quiet for most of the week, with trading in Vilniaus Bankas shares picking up somewhat on Friday. The blue-chip LITIN index slipped 0.18 percent to 586.86, while the current list LITIN-A climbed 0.67 percent and the LITIN-10 price index 0.77 percent to 1156.45. The Lithuanian composite index of the Baltic List gained 1.39 percent to 121.74 points. Again, much of the gain is due to the weakening of the euro.

Brokers said trading was deathly quiet all week, picking up only on Friday following the announcement that Lithuania's economy returned to growth in the first quarter. The Lithuanian Statistics Department said that country's economy grew 4.2 percent in the first quarter, ending a recession that lasted over one year.

Trading was most active in Vilniaus Bankas' shares on the official list with turnover of 456,000 litas ($114,000). Vilniaus Bankas' shares were unchanged in litas at 32 litas, but because of the sliding euro, they climbed 2.02 percent in euro terms.

The same was true with Rokiskio Suris and Utenos Trikotazas, but they were unchanged as there was no trading in the shares. Shares in Snaige climbed to 27.50 litas on a turnover of 22,800 litas. On the current list shares in Lithuanian Energy remain fixed at 5.00 litas on a turnover of 299,500 litas.

Share turnover totaled 9.53 million litas last week.