Baltic blue-chips continued to fall

  • 2000-06-15
The Baltic List of the region's blue-chips continued to fall last
week as investors turned their attention to Lithuanian Telecom's
IPO, which will see the shares sold and launched into trading on June

The Baltic List's index fell 1.44 percent to 107.56 points.

A 14.89 percent nosedive in the shares of the Latvian insurance
company Balta and the 12.13 percent plunge in the Lithuanian
Kalnapilis brewery's shares were behind the fall of the index.

In addition, the euro continued to strengthen against the dollar,
pushing down the prices of Latvian and Lithuanian stocks quoted in
euros. The lat lost 1.2 percent against the euro and the litas 2.4

Ventspils Nafta's shares were the one bright spot on the Baltic List,
jumping 14.04 percent to 1.307 euros as sellers refused to part with
their shares cheaply.

The jump in Ventspils Nafta's shares nearly compensated for Balta's
plunge, leaving the Latvian composite of the Baltic Index down just
0.49 percent over the week at 117.33 points.

Without the euro dragging them down, the Riga Stock Exchange's
indices posted gains. The DJRSE climbed 2.26 percent to 108.39 points
while the RICI price index posted a 1.26 percent gain.

The Estonian composite of the Baltic Index was practically unchanged
at 99.97 points, while the Tallinn Stock Exchange's TALSE index
slipped 0.71 percent to 141.50 points.

Thanks to a dividend payment, shares in Eesti Telekom fell 3.4
percent to 7254 points, and for the first time slipped below one
billion euros of market capitalization.

Kalnapilis' fall pushed down the Lithuanian composite of the Baltic
Index 4.53 percent to 111.08 points. The Lithuanian National
Exchange's official list LITIN index posted a 1.44 percent gain,
however. The current list LITIN-A index slipped 0.12 percent,
however, to 1064.17 points; and the LITIN-10 price index fell 0.46
percent to 1072.06 points.

Thanks to limp trading in Estonia, the turnover of Baltic List stocks
fell 12.5 percent from the previous week to 5.38 million euros.

Estonian stocks quoted on the Baltic List generated 4.04 million
euros of turnover, or 75.13 percent of the total. Latvian stocks
accounted for 22.77 percent of the total with 1.23 million euros of
turnover. Lithuanian stocks posted only 113,000 euros of turnover, or
2.11 percent of the total.

In Estonia and Latvia, stocks quoted on the Baltic List accounted for
between 80 and 90 percent of total turnover, while in Lithuania the
figure was less than 5 percent.

Total market capitalization of Baltic List stocks fell 0.15 percent
last week to 2.532 billion euros.

Estonia: Calm prevails

Relative calm prevailed on the Estonian stock market during the
outgoing week as turnovers were small and price changes marginal.

The Tallinn Stock Exchange's TALSE index fell 0.71 percent over the
week to 141.50 points, mostly due to a drop in Eesti Telekom's share

Less dependent on Eesti Telekom, the composite index of the seven
Estonian stocks quoted on the Baltic List slipped just 0.03 percent
over the week to 99.97 points.

Telekom fell 3.40 percent last week to 113.50 kroons (7.254 euros) on
a five-day turnover of 14.6 million kroons. The fall was mostly due
to the annual dividend payment.

The biggest turnover during the outgoing week was produced by shares
in Hansapank, 36.1 million kroons worth (2.3 million euros) of which
changed hands. Hansa put on 2.31 percent in the course of the week to
close at 133.00 (8.50 euros).

Shares in Uhispank climbed 3.11 percent to 29.8 kroons (1.905 euros).

Shares in Optiva Pank slipped 0.76 percent to 6.50 kroons (0.415
euros). Investors have become more concerned whether Sampo/Leonia
will go through with its bid for the troubled bank after it pulled
out talks on buying the Latvian insurance company Balta.

Uhispank trader Mart Helmja said the biggest event during the week
was the release of the provisional estimate of first-quarter gross
domestic product by the Statistical Office.

"The released GDP figure was below expectations, but the price levels
of shares remained stable," Helmja told BNS.

The provisional figure released by the statistical authority showed a
5.2 percent GDP growth year-on-year in the first quarter.

"There was continued even interest in bigger companies during the
week, also on the part of Western investors," Helmja said

The week's total turnover on the Tallinn Stock Exchange was 71.4
million kroons (4.56 million euros). Stocks quoted on the Baltic List
accounted for 4.04 million euros of turnover, or 88 percent of the

Latvia: Extreme movings

Share prices moved in dramatically different directions last week in
Riga in more active trading.

A 14.89 percent nosedive in Balta's share price was nearly
compensated by a 14.04 percent gain in shares in Ventspils Nafta,
with the Latvian composite of the Baltic Index falling just 0.49
percent tot 117.33 points.

Without the rebounding euro to drag them down, the Riga Stock
Exchange's official indices posted gains. The DJRSE index gained 2.26
percent to 108.39 points and the RICI price index climbed 1.26
percent to 174 points.

The strong gain in Ventspils Nafta's share price to 1.307 euros (0.75
lats) was mostly responsible for the gain in the indices.

Sellers held their offer price at the 0.75 level this week despite
bidders trying to push the price down to 0.60 lats.

The falling apart of talks selling a majority stake to Finland's
Sampo was behind the nosedive in Balta's share price. As warnings
that the talks could fail had been made months ago, investors might
have priced in the risk of the talks failing if the shares had been
liquid, but the insurance companies shares are traded only off and on.

Shares in Latvijas Gaze remain the most stable. The climbed three
santims or by 1.4 percent to 2.18 lats but were up only 0.21 percent
in euros to 3.8 euros thanks to the stronger euro.

Shares in Unibanka fell 2.42 percent to 2.718 euros.

Turnover on the Riga Stock Exchange totaled 1.37 million euros
(796,000 lats) last week. Baltic List stocks generated 1.22 million
euros of turnover, or 89 percent of the total. Shares in Ventspils
Nafta were the undisputed leader with 645,000 euros in turnover.

Lithuania: Waiting for Telecom to call

Trading was once again quiet on the Lithuanian National Stock
Exchange as most investors were waiting for the appearance of
Lithuanian Telecom shares on the bourse on June 12.

The bourse's official list LITIN index climbed 1.44 percent to 563.57
points, but the current list LITIN A slipped 0.12 percent and the
LITIN-10 price index fell 0.46 percent to 1072.06 points.

The composite index of the four Lithuanian stocks quoted on the
Baltic Index fell 4.53 percent to 111.08 points, mostly due to a
sharp drop in Kalnapilis' share price and the euro strengthening
against the dollar.

Brokers believe that most investors have gathered their warchests for
the Telecom IPO, with some buying into low-priced shares hoping a
rise on Telecom's coattails.

Buying was most active in Vilniaus Bankas' shares on the official
list with 314,000 litas (82,700 euros) in turnover. They gained one
percent in litas to 31.30 litas, but fell 1.42 percent in euros to
8.165 euros.

Shares in Kalnipils brewery plunged 12.13 percent to 0.916 euros
(3.51 litas) on a turnover of just 403 euros.

On the current list and on the entire central market Lietuvos
Energija shares dominated with 414,600 litas of turnover at usual
price of 5.00 litas. Brokers believe Sweden's Vattenfall continues to
increase its stake in the company.

In direct deals 4.949 million litas of shares in Panevezio Pienas
dairy changed hands.

Share turnover on the index totaled 11.2 million litas or 2.93
million euros. Only 2.11 percent of that was in the four blue-chips
quoted on the Baltic List. On Friday none of the Lithuanian stocks
quoted on the Baltic List traded, the second time this year.