Bears dominate Baltic stock market

  • 2000-06-01
Bears were out in the Baltics last week, with the Baltic Index of the region's blue-chips shedding 2.98 percent to 111.88 points.

Latvian and Estonian shares were responsible for the decline, while Lithuanian stocks were relatively stable.

The 11 percent drop in Ventspils Nafta's share price is reminiscent of a bubble bursting, and Unibanka and Balta were also hit by drops of approximately six percent. This pushed the Latvian composite of the Baltic index down 5.54 percent to 119.79 points, and out of the leadership position for the first time in two months.

The Riga Stock Exchange's official indices were also down. The DJRSE index fell 4.25 percent to 105.1 points, and the RICI price index dropped 1.59 percent to 170.5 points.

Gigantic direct deals with Unibanka's and Ventspils Nafta's shares totaling 27 million euros didn't cause much excitement on the market, perhaps because it can't be excluded that investors just shifted the stakes between different accounts.

The Estonian composite of the Baltic Index fell 3.49 precent to 101.68. The Tallinn Stock Exchange's TALSE index dropped 3.27 percent to 146.05. Both are now back at levels at which they began the year.

Bank shares were hit hard, possibly due to continuing uncertainty regarding the appointment of a new central bank chief.

Eesti Telekom shares fell in anticipation of the quarterly earnings report to be issued May 29, although some may be looking to get out of the company to invest in Swedish Telia and Lietuvos Telekomas, both of which are to be floated soon.

The Lithuanian composite was the only one to post a gain last week, up 0.47 percent to 121.83 points and into first place.

The official list LITIN index was practically unchanged at 575.37 points, but the LITIN-10 price index fell 3.43 percent to 1084.29 points thanks to a considerable drop in Mazeikiu Nafta's share price.

Shares in Vilniaus Bankas remained the center of action on the Lithuanian bourse. They were unchanged in litas, but fell 1.34 percent in euros to 8.872 euros. Nevertheless, they remained the most expensive on the Baltic List.

Turnover of Baltic List stocks hit a new record at 31.4 million euros, up by nine times from the previous week.

Huge direct deals with Unibanka and Ventspils Nafta gave Latvia a total of 27.4 million euros in turnover, 87.4 percent of the total.

Estonian shares quoted on the Baltic List recorded 3.24 million euros in turnover, some 10 percent of the total. Lithuanian shares accounted for only 2.34 percent with 732,000 euros of turnover.

Baltic List shares accounted for nearly 100 percent of share turnover in Latvia, 76 percent in Estonian and 66 percent in Lithuania.

Total market capitalization of Baltic List stocks was 2.604 billion euros on May 26, a drop of 3.7 percent over the week.

Estonia: Slide in progress

The TALSE index Friday finished 3.27 percent down from last week at 146.05 points as most shares on the Tallinn bourse moved down.

The Estonian composite of the Baltic Index fell 3.49 percent to 101.68 points.

Both the TALSE and Estonian composite are now back to levels at which they started this year.

Hansapank's slide after a long period of stability is noteworthy, broker Romet Tepper from Hansapank said.

Hansapank ended at 131 kroons (8.372 euros), down by 5.76 percent from last Friday, amid trade worth 29.4 million kroons (1.9 million euros).

Telecom's movement was influenced by anticipation of quarterly results due out on May 29, the broker said.

Trading at between 120.25 and 127 kroons during the week, the share closed 2.20 percent lower than last Friday at 122.25 kroons (7.813 euros) on 10.9 million kroons (700,000 euros) of turnover.

Noting recent volatility of the telecommunication sector, Tepper said East European telecoms are getting over the worst.

Uhispank's capital markets strategist Aivo Kangus expects Telecom's results to put brakes on the share's fall.

The initial public offerings in Swedish Telia and Lietuvos Telekomas will also likely influence the movement of Eesti Telekom's shares.

On the supplementary list Saku Olletehas and Viisnurk remained strong, gaining respectively 2.08 percent to 63.80 kroons and 2.41 percent to 34 kroons.

Harju Elekter shed 2.08 percent over the week to close at 47 kroons.

The exchange system's turnover for the week totaled 65.87 million kroons (4.21 million euros). Baltic List stocks accounted for 3.25 million euros, or 77 percent of the total.

Latvia: Big turnover bang

Last week gigantic direct deals with Unibanka's and Ventspils Nafta's shares were registered on the Riga Stock Exchange, but that didn't stop a slide in share prices.

The DJRSE index fell 4.25 percent to 105.10 points, with the RICI price index down 1.59 percent to 170.50 points.

The Latvian composite of the Baltic Index dove 5.54 percent to 119.79 points, allowing Lithuanian stocks to take first place.

Ventspils Nafta's shares racked up 16.05 million euros of turnover this week thanks to two transactions with a 5.5 percent package of the company's stock. Given the same number of shares in both transactions, it can't be excluded at least one of the transactions may have been an internal shifting of the shares from one account to another by the same owner.

The huge turnover in the oil terminal's shares was accompanied by a 11.38 percent dive in price to 1.212 euros. Given the unclarity about the company's future and in the absence of foreign investment, specialists don't exclude the company's share price could fall even further.

Parex confirmed that it sold a 9.9 percent stake in Unibanka for about 11 million euros, but as the buyer has yet to come forward, it can't be excluded this was an internal shift as well.

Unibanka's share price also slid sharply, down 6.24 percent to 2.803 euros.

Shares in Balta insurance company shed 5.89 percent to 6.744 euros. The company's often fluctuate wildly on small turnover as there are relatively few in circulation and Finnish Sampo is negotiating taking a majority stake. But on May 29 all of the insurance company's shares will become public, possibly adding selling pressure.

Shares in Latvijas Gaze gained 2.12 percent to 3.797 euros as it appears the company will pay a dividend of 0.12 lats per share.

Share turnover totaled 15 million lats (27.4 million euros) last week, with nearly 100 percent in Baltic List shares. The weekly turnover was more than half of the total half the annual turnover last year.

Lithuania: Trading in VB bounces back

Trading on the Lithuanian National Securities Exchange increased considerably last week, with trading in Vilniaus Bankas' and other official list shares accounting for half of the bourse's turnover.

The official list LITIN index nudged up 0.02 percent to 575.37 points, but the current list LITIN-A fell 1.55 percent to 1085. 26 points and the LITIN-10 price index dove 3.43 percent to 1084.29 points.

The Lithuanian composite of the Baltic Index gained 0.47 percent over the week to 121.83 points, taking over the lead from the Latvian index.

Shares in Vilniaus Bankas racked up a turnover of 2.37 million litas and were practically unchanged at 32.00 litas. But in euros they fell 1.34 percent to 8.872 euros, although they still remain the highest price stock on the Baltic List.

Given the volume of the trading, Suprema broker Arvydas Jacikevicius believes foreign investors must have been behind the buying binge.

Trading in Rokiskio Suris' shares was also relatively active, with 144,100 litas of turnover on the central market and another 103,000 in direct deals. It held firm at 20.60 litas, but fell 1.03 percent in euros to 5.711 euros.

But Jacikevicius doesn't believe this signals a lasting trend towards more liquid trading in the cheese maker's shares yet.

On the current list trading remained active in Lietuvos Energija's shares with 349,000 litas of turnover. Brokers believe the Swedish energy company Vattenfall remains behind the buying. The shares stayed at their now traditional price of 5.00 litas.

Maziekiu Nafta's share price dove 6.67 percent to 0.84 litas on a turnover of 79,000 litas.

Baltic Securities broker Dmitry Dutov noted that there is considerable buying interest in the oil refinery's shares, but noted that conflicting news about a deal with Russian LUKoil has caused Mazeikiu Nafta's share price to fluctuate wildly.

Share turnover totaled 1.1 million euros last week. Thanks to the heavy trading in Vilniaus Bankas' shares Baltic List stocks accounted for 66 percent of the total with 732,000 euros of turnover.