Investors remained unimpressed with news released during the outgoing week, leaving the Tallinn Stock Exchange virtually unchanged as of Friday. Norma, meanwhile, was recovering quite well after major losses in the previous week. The TALSE index on Friday closed at 99.71, up 0.28 percent for the week.
Suprema broker Sten Sumberg said the market was supported at the beginning of the week by news about the sale of a stake in Norma to Sweden's Autoliv. He added, however, that the news had only a partial effect as the details of the deal were not revealed and nobody knew how highly the buyer valued Norma. Norma rose 7.12 percent to finish the week at 34.60 kroons ($2.36), recovering half of the losses it suffered the week before.
Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken announced in the middle of the week that it had acquired a more than 50 percent holding in Uhispank. Sumberg said this did not change anybody's opinion of Uhispank because it has been clear for some time SEB has been buying up Uhispank's shares on the open market. Uhispank plunged 5.60 percent to 21.90 kroons, however, as investors apparently feared a dip in the share price after SEB stops its buying spree.
Nor did any significant changes follow after the three listed banks released their results for September on Friday. Investors, who are increasingly indifferent about monthly performance figures, initially came out selling after Hansa's profit turned out to be smaller than expected, but then seemed to have again adopted a positive outlook regarding the share by day's end. Hansa finished the week with an increase of nearly three percent, closing at 78.25
Latvia: Earnings numbers unlikely to boost trading
The auction of Latvijas Gazes shares and positive news about Latvia's chances of joining the European Union buoyed trading on the Riga Stock Exchange at the start of the week, but the mood turned sour and shares dropped by week's end. Brokers do not foresee a rebound in trading volume despite the impending release of nine-month results by many companies. Both of the RSE's indexes were up last week. The RICI price index climbed 1.75 percent to 161.39 points while the cap-weighted DJRSE index was up 1.65 percent at 75.34 points.
The 5.88 percent jump in Rigas Kugu Buvetava shipyard's share price to 0.18 lats ($0.32) and fiberglass manufacturer Valmiers Stikla Skiedra's by 5 percent to 0.42 lats pulled up both indexes. Both companies operate in stable markets, and with P/E ratios of less than eight, it can be argued that they are not richly priced. A lack of high growth projects could be used to explain their low P/E's.
Shares in Unibanka, Latvijas Balzams and Ventspils Nafta posted 2 percent to 3 percent gains.
Excluding the auction of Latvijas Gaze shares, turnover on the bourse totaled just 220,000 lats, with 90 percent of the trading in Ventspils Nafta, Unibanka and LG shares.
Trading in LG shares died down after the auction and is unlikely to pick up in the coming week. The same is likely to be true with Ventspils Nafta shares as the stable 0.40 lats price level seems to attract neither buyers nor sellers.
Unibanka's nine-month results were slightly below market expectations, but as the bank usually performs better in the fourth quarter, it looks likely Unibanka will meet its 11 million lat profit target. While the issue, whether Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken should make a mandatory offer for remaining outstanding shares it does not own, or reduce its holding in Unibanka to below majority, may not be fully resolved soon, it is clear that for the moment SEB will fight the new requirement and not reduce its stake in Unibanka.
Lithuania: Bank shares gain
Last week share prices on the more liquid bank stocks - Vilniaus Bankas, Bankas Hermis and Ukio Bankas - posted gains but several industrial stocks fell, dragging down several of the bourse's indexes with them. The blue-chip Litin index stayed in positive territory, up 0.34 percent over the week at 534.84 points. The Litin-10 fell 3.54 percent to 1262.65 points.
On the central market trading was active in Bankas Hermis shares. The bank's shares climbed 1.67 percent to 125.05 litas ($31.26) on turnover of 1.61 million litas. In direct deals 25.9 million litas in shares changed hands.
Central market trading in Hermis shares then came to a halt Wednesday after Vilniaus Bankas registered its official offer for the bank. Suprema broker Arvydas Jacikevicius said people connected with Vilniaus Bankas and the bank itself may have been buying Hermis shares, but that after the offer announcement buying stopped.
Trading in Vilniaus Bankas shares was also active. Its share price jumped 3.33 percent to 24.49 litas on a central market turnover of 1.1 million litas. A further 260,600 litas in shares were sold in direct deals. Brokers said the popularity of Vilniaus Bankas shares was due to good nine-month results and the announcement of additional details about its merger plan.
Utenos Trikotazas shares jumped 6.79 percent to 2.83 litas per share on a central market turnover of 565,000 litas. Shares in the refrigerator manufacturer Snaige slid 1.41 percent to 35 litas on a turnover of 52,600 litas, while shares in dairy Birzai plunged 6.59 percent to 1.70 litas on a turnover of 698,000 litas.
On the current list Ukio Bankas dominated trading with a central market turnover of 956,100 litas and 4.5 million litas in direct deals. Its share price climbed 0.69 percent to 13.06 litas.
Uncertainty around Mazeikiai Oil's situation caused some investors to abandon the refinery's shares, sending them down 11.76 percent to 0.75 litas.
Turnover on the exchange totaled 51 million litas, with 4.5 million litas of trading on the central market.