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Baltic bourses: trend changed?

  • 2000-08-31
Last week finally saw the trends on the Baltic stock exchanges take the turnabout everybody had been waiting on so long. Although not all indices climbed and the upward pace was comparatively slow, several market participants hope that the market trend will continue.

From Aug. 18 to 25, the price index of Baltic List blue chips moved up 1.09 percent to 105.87 points.

The index was boosted both by the rapidly rising price for Latvijas Gaze shares (+17 percent) and the unexpected gain of Lietuvos Telekomas shares.

Last week gainers outpaced losers eight to five on the Baltic List of fifteen blue chips traded on Riga, Vilnius and Tallinn bourses. Two Estonian stocks remained unchanged.

The climbing shares in Latvijas Gaze and a favorable euro exchange rate pushed the composite Latvian index of the Baltic List stocks up 2.15 percent to 119.24 points.

The index could have been even higher but the boost given by Latvijas Gaze shares lost some of the strength as shares in Ventspils Nafta and Latvijas Unibanka dropped substantially last week. Experts predict rapid raise of the bank's shares soon, however.

Other Riga Stock Exchange indices changed little as compared to contrasting trends among stocks in leading companies. Dow Jones Riga Stock Exchange capitalization index (DJRSE) was up 1.14 percent to 104.42 points and the RICI price index remained almost unchanged, off just 0.08 percent to 156.27 points.

The Lithuanian stock market also saw indices growth last week. The unexpected rise of Lietuvos Telekomas stocks, coupled with falling euro exchange rate against litas, brought the composite index of Lithuanian Baltic List stocks up 1.85 percent to 104.63 points.

Lietuvos Telekomas' share price gains also pushed up the LITIN index, which dropped below 400-point line in mid-week for the first time in its history, by 1.55 percent to 417.64.

Although Eesti Telekom's semi-annual results turned out to be better than estimated before, the company's shares continued downward, pulling down the Estonian stock market indices.

The composite index of Estonian Baltic List stocks dropped 0.19 percent to 99.11 points and the official list index TALSE moved down 0.26 percent to 132.96 points over the week.

Estonian market experts, however, expect most of the stocks to go up in the near future. Few think the downward trend will persist.

The total Baltic List turnover reached 3.44 million euros last week with Estonian stocks accounting for 1.63 million euros or 47 percent of the total figure, Lithuanian stocks 35 percent and Latvian stocks 18 percent.

Deals made with Baltic List stocks yielded 50 percent of total turnover on the Estonian stock market. For Latvia this figure was 78.5 percent and for Lithuania only 21 percent.

The share of the Lithuanian Baltic List stocks in the total turnover on the national stock exchange was so small because a large block of shares in Panevezio Pienas dairy group, which is not included in the Baltic List, was sold last week in Lithuania.

After a long period of decline, the Baltic List capitalization increased last week for the first time - by just 0.7 percent to 2.83 billion euros.

The Estonian Baltic List capitalization was 1.71 billion euros (-0.5 percent) on August 25. For Latvian Baltic List stocks this figure was 430 million euros (+3.8 percent) and for Lithuanian stocks 687 million euros (+2.2 percent).

Telekom results set tone on Tallinn bourse in outgoing week

The outgoing week's highlight on an otherwise torpid bourse in Tallinn was the release of Eesti Telekom's six-month results.

The TALSE index closed at 132.96 points, down by 0.26 percent week on week.

The price index of Estonian Baltic List shares also edged down 0.19 percent to 99.11 points over the week.

"It was a quiet week with the main attention on the telecommunications sector," Hansapank broker Romet Tepper said.

An auction of third-generation UMTS mobile communication licenses in Germany that ended last Friday sparked the fall of Eastern European telecoms, the broker said.

"Eesti Telekom was not immune to it, either," he noted.

Telekom's half-year results released on Thursday surpassed expectations, but the share fell under western investors' selling pressure, Tepper said.

Eesti Telekom ended at a historical low of 98.50 kroons (6.295 euros), down by 1.5 percent from last Friday, with 5.16 million kroons (329,756 euros) in aggregate turnover.

The outgoing week's most-traded security was Hansapank, generating a total of 17.3 million kroons (1.1 million euros). The share gained 0.61 percent from previous Friday to close at 123.75 kroons (7.909 euros).

The 406 deals made during this week generated a total turnover of 52.8 million kroons (3.37 million euros). Estonian Baltic List stocks accounted for just half of this turnover, 1.63 million euros.

Latvian stock market experiences contrasting changes

The price dynamics for leading stocks on the Riga Stock Exchange last week was characterized by contrasting changes.

Shares in Latvijas Gaze climbed rapidly over the week, while Ventspils Nafta's shares took an equivalent fall.

The price per share in Unibanka also dropped and by the end of the week the stock exchange indices fell back almost to same level as early in the week.

The capitalization index DJRSE jumped 1.14 percent over the week to 104.42 points, although the index had slipped below the 100-point line in mid- week for the first time in several months.

The price index RICI was off just 0.08 percent to 119.24 points.

Latvijas Gaze (LG) shares rocketed up 17.07 percent to a new record-high of 5.359 euros (2.95 lats) last week. If no LG shareholder decides to take his profit (from the growing price for shares in the company), the price per share may even exceed 3 lats (5.45 euros) soon.

Contrary to Latvijas Gaze shares, neither small nor large shareholders of Ventspils Nafta are interested in acquiring shares in the company, therefore the oil terminal's shares plummeted down 10.61 percent to 0.963 euros (0.53 lats).

Thus, Ventspils Nafta's shares have suffered a setback, falling back to the price level recorded early in the year.

Despite positive financial indicators posted by Unibanka, the bank's shares continued on the downward slide last week, dropping 3.17 percent to 2.416 euros (1.33 lats).

Most experts still believe that the fall by Unibanka's shares is due to the overall depression on the Latvian stock market. As soon as the situation on the market changes, the bank's shares will start climbing rapidly.

The total turnover on the Riga Stock Exchange reached 436,700 lats (794,000 euros) last week with Latvijas Gaze shares accounting for 187,300 lats (340,000 euros) or 43 percent of the total turnover.

Deals with Latvian Baltic List stocks yielded a turnover of 623,800 euros last week or 75 percent of the total turnover on the Riga Stock Exchange.

Lithuania: Telekomas defies gloomy forecasts, gains ground

Market trendsetter Lietuvos Telekomas ended the week higher amid brisk trading after forecasts that the company's employee shares would flood the market proved wrong.

"Next week should be quite good for investors because there is demand both for Telekomas and Vilniaus Bankas. The stocks had been on the decline for two months after Telekomas' IPO. I believe we are going to see the market slowly changing direction," Hansabanka broker Tomas Andrejauskas said. "The first step has been taken," he added.

The bourse's continuously-tracked price index Litin-10 was off 1.09 percent to 948.35 points, the Official List index Litin rose 1.55 percent to 417.64, and the Current List index Litin-A eased 1.27 percent to 1042.90 during the week.

The price index of Lithu-anian Baltic List shares gained 1.85 percent over the week ending at 104.63 points.

Lietuvos Telekomas gained 2.28 percent to 0.605 euros (2.18 litas) over the week on 1.1 million euros (3.98 million litas) turnover. The stocks slid to a new all-time low of 1.95 litas (0.55 euros) in the middle of the week amid investor worries, but later recovered all previous losses.

The state sold a 5 percent stake in the company to Telekomas' employees a year ago. The shares were converted into ordinary shares after a lock-up agreement expired on August 23.

Vilniaus Bankas was up 1.34 percent at 8.054 euros (29 litas) with 199,900 litas (55,346 euros) worth of shares traded. Other Official List blue chips were largely neglected.

Power utility Lietuvos Energija, flat at its usual 5.00 litas, led the way on the Current List, generating a turnover of 186,400 litas during the week.

In block trading, 15.534 million litas changed hands for shares in dairy group Panevezio Pienas.

The equity turnover on the bourse reached 20.8 million litas(5.7 million euros). The Lithuanian Baltic List stocks were responsible for 21 percent of the total turnover, 1.19 million euros.