The turnover of the Baltic List's stocks fell approximately fivefold to 3.22 million euros ($2.91 mln) with Estonian stocks accounting for 70 percent (2.25 million euros) of the turnover, Lithuanian 20 percent and Latvian stocks accounting for just 10 percent of the list's total.
The Baltic List's capitalization on Aug. 4 was 2.91 billion euros, down 2.35 percent from the previous week. Capitalization of the list's Estonian shares was 1.78 billion euros, down 2.8 percent from the previous week, Latvian stocks 409 million euros, up 0.7 percent with Lithuanian stocks at 719 million euros, down 3.2 percent.
Estonia: Falling shares rain on Tallinn bourse
The Tallinn stock exchange saw relatively modest trading amidst mostly falling share prices in the outgoing week. The TALSE index ended at 136.01, down 2.4 percent from last Friday.
Investors kept pace with movement on the world markets this week, Hansapank broker Lauri Lind said. Toward the end of the week, weakness on world stock markets caught up with the market here through selling pressure on Eesti Telekom (Estonian Telecom). Telecom ended 4.2 percent lower at 108 kroons ($6.25) with volume of 4.2 million kroons. Lind said a part of Estonian Telecom's fall was due to Lithuanian Telecom's current weakness on the London market.
Regardless of good half-year results, Hansapank remained under selling pressure this week, Lind stated. Hansapank closed at 121 kroons, down 1.8 percent. Its shares were the most-traded with a turnover of 22.2 million kroons for the five days.
Norma dropped 2.3 percent to 39.07 kroons amid volume of 6.2 million kroons. EVP privatization vouchers generated a turnover of 4.5 million kroons. Construction company Merko Ehitus posted unexpectedly strong half-year results this week. Merko ended the six months with a profit of 25.8 million kroons on a turnover of 518.3 million kroons. Lind said these results should be followed by new analyses leading to an increase in their target price. Merko ended the week at 29.20 kroons.
"On the whole, trading activity seems to be picking up," Lind said. "It's a question of time when selling pressure stops and prices start moving up again." The exchange's turnover totaled 44.68 million kroons in the outgoing week.
Latvia: Stocks keep falling
Most of the leading stocks traded on the Riga bourse moved down last week. The price index RICI fell 2.43 percent over the week to 158.74 and the capitalization index DJRSE dropped 1.12 percent to 103.6.
Latvijas Gaze (Latvian Gas) saw the biggest fall last week, losing 5.7 percent in lats, closing at 2.33 lats ($3.82). In euro terms, though, the gas company lost 3.67 percent and closed at 4.17 euros. The experts explained the downward movement of the gas company's shares to lowering demand on the market, and have not ruled out the possibility that they may continue falling further amid the lack of clarity of conditions and the number of the company's state-owned shares expected to be offered for sale at auction.
Latvian Unibanka fell 0.7 percent in lats last week to 1.47 lats, while in euro terms the bank posted a gain of 1.42 percent to 2.63 euros.
The oil terminal Ventspils Nafta and Balta insurance group meanwhile posted gains. Ventspils Nafta shot up 7.13 percent to 1.14 euros, supported by growing oil prices on world markets. The news about a 5 percent fall in oil reloading volume in the first six months of the year over the same period in 1999, evidently, was not a surprise for investors. The shareholders, apparently, also have accepted the fact that they will not be paid dividends for 1999.
Balta's shares in lats last week gained a mere 0.3 percent to 3.11 lats. Publication of this year's first-half profit was a pleasant surprise for investors as the annual profit target for 2000 has already been surpassed, and by almost 50 percent. The company's management though, for the time being, is not rushing to raise the profit target for the full year and, therefore, along with the market's low liquidity, significant share price growth is unlikely for now.
Major block deals last week were in shares of Daugavpils Pievadkezu Rupnica (Daugavpils PKR, Motor Chain Factory), worth 1.74 million lats, and Grindex pharmaceuticals manufacturer, worth 172,700 lats. Turnover on the Riga bourse totaled 2.1 million lats.
Telekomas reaches new all-time low
Lithuanian stocks ended the week mostly in negative territory, led by trendsetter Lietuvos Telekomas, which slid to a new all-time low; activity on the market remained slow, except for Thursday when deals in Telekomas spurred otherwise sluggish trade. The stock exchange's continuously tracked index Litin-10 edged down 0.19 percent to 1007.84 for the week, the blue-chip Official List index Litin sank 5.46 percent to 441.46, and the secondary Current List index Litin-A ticked up 0.14 percent to 1066.67.
Lietuvos Telekomas failed to recover after Wednesday's drop, to 2.35 litas, ending the week 8.20 percent lower, some 25.4 percent below its IPO price of 3.15 litas. Brokers say continuing selling pressure keeps Telekomas at low levels and the short-term outlook for the stock is unclear. "A further decline in the price seems unlikely at this point, but it did not seem likely when it traded at 2.60 litas either," said Dmitrijus Dutovas of Baltijos Vertybiniai Popieriai [Baltic Securities]. Lietuvos Telekomas' turnover came to 1.73 million litas for the week.
Vilniaus Bankas climbed 2.75 percent to 29.90 litas thanks mostly to a rally at the start of the week, which Hansabankas broker Tomas Andrejauskas said was sparked by the release of first-half results on Monday. Vilniaus Bankas reported a net profit of 47.2 million litas for the first six months of this year. "Investors begin to react to the bank's results, and I would like to believe that trading in the stock will be picking up pace. But Lietuvos Telekomas remains the trendsetter, and, with the stock moving down, we can hardly expect growth," Andrejauskas said.
Refrigerator producer Snaige skidded 3.24 percent to 23.90 litas with 28,400 litas turnover, and cheese maker Rokiskio Suris was off 0.95 percent to 20.80 litas.
On the Current List, Siauliu Bankas was the most active, posting turnover of 350,000 litas. But brokers say the turnover did not reflect the real investor interest in the stock, noting that all the deals occurred on a single day. Siauliu Bankas ended the week 1.33 percent lower at 40.00 litas. Power utility Lietuvos Energija stayed flat at its usual 5.00 litas on 76,500 litas turnover; insurer Lietuvos Draudimas eased 3.04 percent to 242.41 litas with 37,900 litas worth of shares traded, and gas firm Lietuvos Dujos jumped 2.00 percent to 1.02 litas on 31,900 litas turnover.
Ukio Bankas surged 16.58 percent to 4.57 litas on 27,800 litas turnover. Finasta broker Aurelijus Rimkus said that, although turnover remained low, the price rise might be a signal that the stock would pick up in the near future.
The overall turnover on the bourse reached 4.35 million litas over the week.