Bulls still out of the Baltic bourses

  • 2000-06-08
Bears continued to haunt the Baltic bourses, with most blue-chips sliding considerably last week.

The index of the 15 blue-chips quoted on the Baltic List dropped 2.46 percent to 109.13 points, with only one stock bucking the trend to post a gain in euros for the week and three unchanged.

Besides considerable falls in most Estonian stocks, Ventspils Nafta and Vilniuaus Bankas, the strengthening of the euro also played a role in pushing down the Latvian and Lithuanian composite indices. The Lithuanian lit lost 3.63 percent against the euro last week and the Lithuanian lat 2.5 percent.

The Lithuanian stocks were the worst hit, dropping 4.5 percent to 116.35 points, and dropping to second place behind Latvian stocks.

The Vilnius bourse's official list LITIN index fell 3.44 percent to 555.56 points, while the LITIN-10 price index dipped just 0.67 percent to 1076.99 points.

The Estonian composite of the Baltic Index fell 1.66 percent last week to 99.99 points, below the 100 point level the index was set at on January 3.

The Tallinn Stock Exchange's TALSE index fell 2.42 percent last week to 142.51 points thanks to a nearly four percent drop by shares in Eesti Telekom. The shares are dropping despite the date coming up this week of the fixing of the shareholder list for the dividend payment — an obvious sign that investors are not impressed.

Shares in Optiva Bank also dragged down the index with another nine percent plummet as the unclear situation surrounding the leadership of the central bank adds uncertaininty to the sale of the bank.

Except for Ventspils Nafta the Latvian shares quoted on the Baltic List posted gains in lats, but the change in the exchange rate meant they lost ground in euros. The Latvian composite index slipped 1.58 percent to 117.90 points.

Calculated in lats, the Riga Stock Exchange's indices posted gains last week. The DJRSE index climbed up 0.85 percent to 105.9 points, and the RICI index edged up 0.79 percent to 171.74 points.

Turnover of stocks quoted on the Baltic List totaled 6.15 million euros last week, a drop by five times from the record turnover set the previous week.

Estonian stocks again dominated trading with 72.06 percent of the total with 4.43 million euros in turnover.

Trading in Latvian stocks totaled 1.52 million euros (24.65 percent) and Lithuanian stocks 202,000 euros (3.29 percent).

In Estonia Baltic List stocks accounted for 86 percent of total share turnover, while the figure ws 94 percent in Latvia and just 1.2 percent in Lithuania as big block deals in Lithuanian Insurance dominated trading in Vilnius.

The market capitalization of the Baltic List stocks after close of trading June 2 was 2.536 billion euros, a drop of 2.6 percent over the week.

Estonia: Share slide continues

Trading focused on Hansapank and Telekom in the outgoing week, and the prices of key shares mainly moved down during the week.

The TALSE stock index fell 2.42 percent to 142.51 points, while the index of the seven Estonian stocks quoted on the Baltic List fell 1.66 percent to 99.99 points, below the 100 points at which it began on January 3.

"As the shares had made relatively big falls, they became attractive to many in the middle of the week," Hansapank broker Romet Tepper said.

The turnover from deals with Hansapank was 28.48 million (1.82 million euros) and with Telecom 24.67 million kroons (1.58 million euros).

Hansapank slid 0.76 percent to 130 kroons (8.309 euros) and Telekom 3.39 percent to 117.50 kroons (7.510 euros) over the week.

In the middle of the week, Telekom was affected by low quotations in London. The lowest level for the share during the week was 114.50 kroons.

The broker forecast that on Monday Telekom would trade in the range from 117 to 120 kroons (7.45-7.65 euros). Shares bought on Tuesday will no longer have the right to dividends from the financial year 1999.

"It seems Telekom wasn't particularly bought to get dividends," Tepper said.

Purchase interest in Hansapank was mostly local, Tepper said. Briefly, 130 kroons has become a resistance level for the share.

Both Uhispank and Norma moved quiety in the outgoing week. Uhispank ended the week flat at 28.90 kroons (1.847 euros), while Norma dropped 1.98 percent to 39.60 kroons (2.53 euros).

Optiva Pank made a free fall of more than 9 percent to 6.55 kroons (0.419 euros).

Tepper said that no one really wants to buy Optiva stock. "They keep pushing the shares from one to another," he said. "This is also why the share price fell."

The stock could be revived by the confirmation of Vahur Kraft as the governor of the central bank, bring some clear guidance to the owner of the majority stake in Optiva.

In Tepper's opinion, the market will be affected by positive movement on stock markets throughout the world. Of the neighboring markets, the steepest rise by more than ten percent was registered in Helsinki.

Tepper forecast that on Monday trading would be positive on the stock exchange.

He forecast a short-term rise also in connection with release of the presumably strong economic growth figure for the first quarter.

Total trade on the exchange last week was 80.46 million kroons (5.14 million euros). Baltic List shares generated 4.43 million euros of turnover, or 86 percent of the total.

Latvia: comparative stability

In sharp contrast to its neighbors, the Latvian bourse's indices posted gains.

The RICI price index gained 0.79 percent last week to 171.84 points and the DJRSE climbed 0.85 percent to 105.99 points.

But despite the fact that three out of the four Latvian stocks quoted on the Baltic List posted gains, the Latvian composite index fell 1.58 percent to 117.90 points due to strengthening of the euro versus the lat.

Ventspils Nafta was the one share that fell both in lats and euros. A three percent drop in lats to 0.65 lats was magnified to a 5.41 percent drop in euros to 1.146 euros.

Despite worsening performance by the company — oil reloading was down by 10 percent in May from the same month in 1999 — large stakeholders don't want to sell at this price. Real offers begin at 0.75 lats (1.33 euros) per share.

Shares in Latvijas Gaze continued to rise in lats, gaining five santims to 2.15 lats. Over the past two weeks it has picked up 17 santims, one-and-a-half the likely dividend payment for 1999.

In euros the company's share price slipped 0.18 percent to 3.791 euros.

Shares in Unibanka gained 1.93 percent to 1.58 lats, but dipped 0.62 percent in euros to 2.786 euros. Given trends on world markets, the shares might rise to 1.60 lats this coming week.

Thanks to block deals total share turnover on bourse hit 912,200 lats (1.62 million euros). Turnover was scant on the central market, however, at just 48,000 lats.

Baltic List shares generated 1.52 million euros of turnover, or 94 percent of the total.

Lithuania: another quiet downward week

It was another quiet week on the Lithuanian National Stock Exchange, with trading picking up in certain shares only when prices dropped.

The official list LITIN index fropped 3.44 percent to 555.56 points, the current list LITIN-A dipped 1.82 percent to 1065.50 points, and the Litin-10 fell 0.67 percent to 1076.99 points.

The strenghtening of the euro against the litas helped magnify losses in euro terms, with the Lithuanian composite of the Baltic Index dropping 4.5 percent to 116.35 points.

"Trading is uninteresting — everyone is watching Lietuvos Telekomas. In recent days foreign investors haven't been active and locals are piling up their money," said Suprema broker Arvydas Jacikevicius.

On the official list shares in Vilniaus Bankas fell 6.65 percent to 8.283 euros, losing the mantle of the most expensive stock on the Baltic List.

Turnover in the bank's stock totaled 176,000 euros.

In the central market trading in the current list shares in Lietuvos Energija was most active, which brokers believe continue to be bought by the Swedish energy company Vattenfall.

The shares remained at 5.00 litas on turnover of 409,600 litas.

Shares in the Mazeikiu Nafta oil refinery and terminal complex slid 1.19 percent to 0.83 litas on a central market turnover of 120,100 litas.

Thanks to direct deals in shares in Lithuanian Insurance totaling 59 million litas, total share turnover hit 61.34 million litas last week (16.36 million euros). Only 1.2 percent of the total was in Baltic List stocks at 0.2 million euros.