Most Latvian blue-chips down for the week

  • 2000-08-03
The most liquid stocks on the Latvian market - Ventspils Nafta and Latvijas Unibanka - continued their downward slide last week, consequently bringing down most of the Latvian indexes. Dow Jones Riga Stock Exchange capitalization index (DJRSE) fell 1.3 percent to 104.78. Fluctuations of the euro exchange rate against the lat also contributed to the downward trend of Latvian blue-chips, as counted in euros.

At the same time, the price index RICI calculated in Latvian lats jumped 4.3 percent to 162.69 over the week due to rapidly growing prices for shares in Staburadze sweets producer, Riga Transport Fleet and Liepajas Metalurgs metallurgy plant.

Ventspils Nafta's shares suffered the sharpest drop last week, plummeting 10.33 percent in euros to 1.07 euros. As the oil terminal Friday announced its semi-annual profit at 10.7 million lats, or well above earlier forecasts, it cannot be ruled out that Ventspils Nafta's shares will start rising next week.

It should also be taken into account that the company's management increased its target for annual profit in 2000 from 11.5 to 13.9 million lats. It is possible, however, that the rise in the annual profit target for this year is also related to the coming shareholder meeting Aug.10, where it is expected to be decided about payment (or non-payment) of dividends for 1999.

Latvijas Unibanka's shares dropped 3.46 percent to 2.59 euros last week. Apparently investors had not been convinced by assurances by the bank's president, and for now do not feel completely certain that Latvijas Unibanka will be able to meet its target annual profit, in particular in view of falling prices for shares in other members of SEB Baltic Holding, Eesti Uhispank and Vilniaus Bankas.

A block deal made with Latvijas Gaze shares enabled the gas company to become the absolute turnover leader not only in Latvia but in the entire Baltics. The deal, in the amount of 6.7 million lats ($11.09 million) accounting for 6.74 percent of Latvian Gas shares, was made between two Russian-based companies. The Russian gas concern Gazprom bought the said Latvijas Gaze shares from Itera-Latvia, a company which also has Russian roots.

This deal, however, is not likely to result in much more active trading with Latvijas Gaze shares on the Riga Stock Exchange, although it definitely added a touch of intrigue to the possible sale of the remaining state holdings in the gas company. The price per share in Latvija's Gaze climbed 1.36 percent to 4.33 euros, hitting an all-time record of 4.43 euros at mid-week.

The total stock exchange turnover for the week reached 6.9 million lats, mainly due to the deal with the Latvijas Gaze shares.

Summertime lull continues, but prices mostly steady in Lithuania

The Lithuanian stock market remained caught in a typical summertime lull last week, but most share prices underwent a slight upward bounce after the recent downward trend. The stock exchange's continuously tracked price index Litin-10 edged down 0.52 percent to 1009.72, the Official List index Litin inched up 0.38 percent to 466.96, and the Current List index Litin-A moved up 1.58 percent to 1065.17.

A sharp decline was posted by Kalnapilis brewery. "The summer slowdown continues on the market. I think the coming week will be quiet too," Hansabankas broker Tomas Andrejauskas said.

On the Official List, Lietuvos Telekomas hit an all-time low of 2.50 litas ($0.625) on Tuesday, but later recovered some of the losses to end the week at 2.56 litas, still a 1.18 percent loss in euros (0.79 percent gain in litas) from the previous week. Deals with Telekom shares amounted to 1.4 million litas.

Vilniaus Bankas edged up 0.34 percent in litas to 29.10 litas on turnover of 159,400 litas. In euro terms, however, the shares fell 1.61 percent to 7.74 euros. Cheese maker Rokiskio Suris was up 0.91 percent to 21.0 litas with 31,000 litas turnover, while brewer Kalnapilis slumped 8.57 percent to 3.20 litas with just 627 litas worth of shares traded. Other blue-chips were not traded at all. On the Current List, power utility Lietuvos Energija, flat at its usual 5.00 litas, generated a turnover of 141,500 litas. Fertilizer firm Lifosa surged 17.50 percent to 17.86 litas on 47,200 litas turnover, and gas company Lietuvos Dujos charged ahead by 6.38 percent to 1.00 litas with 88,900 litas worth of shares traded.

The bourse's equity turnover for the week came to 3.05 million litas.