Baltic stock prices grow steadily

  • 2001-01-25
Most of the Baltic liquid stocks posted gains last week, which was reflected by growth in almost all indexes of the Baltic bourses.

The Baltic Index of the 15 blue-chips and high-caps listed on the Vilnius, Tallinn and Riga bourses gained 2.5 percent to 131.69 points, the highest level since early December.

Gainers outperformed losers on the Baltic List 12 to three.

In Estonia, the low-liquid Pro Kapital posted significant gains of 11.6 percent to 3.39 euros ($3.19), and Tallinna Kaubamaja grew 3.45 percent to 3.83 euros.

Among the blue chips, meanwhile, the leading position was held by Eesti Telekom which jumped 2.61 percent to 5.66 euros on a weekly turnover of 1.4 million euros, the highest generated on the Baltic states bourses last week.

In Latvia, the insurance company Balta and oil terminal Ventspils Nafta posted gains of 4 percent to 6 percent amid investor expectations for high dividends from Balta, while the oil terminal's stocks were pushed up by favorable outward factors like high oil prices and Russia's financial hardships, making Latvia's eastern neighbor increase oil exports through Ventspils.

In Lithuania, Lietuvos Telekomas and Kalnapilis retained firm growth while the recent market leader Snaige lost 5 percent as rumors about a new investor in the company have still not come true.

Thanks to gains by the biggest companies like the telecoms and Ventspils Nafta, the Baltic List's capitalization grew 2.2 percent over the week to 2.8 billion euros.

The Baltic List's weekly turnover was just 4.4 million euros, or $4.2 million, down from 7.12 million euros a week ago.

Estonian stocks on the Baltic List accounted for 82 percent of the list's total weekly turnover, at 3.6 million euros.

The Baltic List's stocks, as before, still held the leading position on Estonian and Latvian national bourses in terms of turnover as transactions with the Baltic List stocks accounted for 65 percent to 80 percent of stock turnover on the Riga and Tallinn bourses.

In Lithuania, the Baltic List's stocks accounted for just about a third of the national bourse's turnover.

Estonia: Telekom takes center stage

Eesti Telekom came to the center of attention in the outgoing week as a moderately optimistic mood prevailed on the Tallinn Stock Exchange.

The TALSE index put on 2.05 percent during the week to close at 142.01 on Friday.

The price euro index of six Estonian Baltic List stocks was up 3.31 percent to a new absolute record-high of 121.25 points.

Trigon Markets trader Kaur Elviste said Telekom's having the center of attention could be anticipated given the share's undervalued status on the Estonian market and Nasdaq's upward pull.

Telekom moved up 2.61 percent during the week to close at 88.50. The total turnover generated in 195 deals was 22.2 million kroons ($1.34 million).

Elviste said even local investors could build up a small further rise from that level.

"Also in London the stock's been moving in a rather favorable direction for us," Elviste said. Telekom stood in London at 86 kroons and 88.22 kroons.

Hansapank found its support at 140 kroons in the past week, the trader observed. The turnover of the share was a rather modest 17.9 million kroons as it gained a marginal 0.36 percent to close at 140.25.

Elviste forecast Hansa to continue at around 140 kroons, with no major gains to be expected until (daily) turnovers rise to over 10 million kroons.

"Every kroon lower offers a better opportunity for buying," Elviste said, adding, however, that room for decline was limited.

Elviste said Norma and Merko Ehitus were rather liquid at their present levels.

With a five-day turnover of 5.9 million kroons, Norma went up 0.99 percent to 50.90 kroons. Merko Ehitus meanwhile slid 0.52 percent to 38.50 on a turnover of 3.6 million kroons.

In the secondary list Saku Olletehas traded flat at 62 kroons.

With a turnover of 3 million kroons, EVP dropped 4.60 percent to 0.663.

The total turnover of the stock market system during the week came to 66.1 million kroons , almost twice less than the week before, when the lion's share of turnover came from the sale of Hansapank stocks to an U.S. investment fund.

Specialists believe the present turnovers indicate there are no large foreign orders on the market and the buying capacity of locals meanwhile remains rather low.

Estonian Baltic List shares contributed heavily into this turnover, providing 3.6 million euros or 82 percent of the total TSE turnover.

Latvia: Stock prices grow amid near-zero activity

Activity remained extremely low on the Riga Stock Exchange last week, which, however, was accompanied by growth in most of the stock prices.

Both stock exchange indexes of the Riga bourse posted almost equal gains, with the DJRSE capitalization index jumping 1.47 percent to 140.87 points, and the RICI price index climbing 1.48 percent to 170.48 points.

The euro price index of Latvian stocks of the Baltic List grew 2.04 percent over the week to 152.89 points.

Analysts believe that most of the Latvian stocks are so illiquid that any, albeit small, demand for them results in a stock price increase.

The gas company Latvijas Gaze was the market leader in terms of turnover last week, changing hands for 78,500 lats ($128,000), with the share price jumping 0.8 percent to 3.72 lats.

The small gains of the gas company's stocks though are unlikely to signal any new significant trends in regard to the company's shares, and significant price changes can only be expected after the company's major shareholders agree with the Latvian Privatization Agency on the sale of the 8 percent stake of the gas company's stocks still held by the state.

Among the more or less liquid stocks, the insurance company Balta and oil terminal Ventspils Nafta posted noteworthy gains.

Balta shot up 6.3 percent to 3.88 lats on a 26,500 lats turnover. The analysts have pointed special attention to the fact that the turnover was not raised in one block deal, as is usual with Balta's shares, but was accumulated on the stock exchange's central market as a result of eight transactions.

Balta's shares today seem highly attractive for investors as the company's last year's profit may exceed 1.5 million lats. Moreover, Balta is known for its stable policy of payment of large dividends to its shareholders.

Ventspils Nafta meanwhile climbed 4.3 percent over the week to 0.73 lats on a turnover of 10,700 lats.

The international situation today is highly favorable for Ventspils Nafta as oil prices still remain high while Russia, stuck in debts, is forced to export ever more oil.

Moreover, the current financial situation in Russia is unlikely to speed up construction of the oil terminal in north-west Russia, designed as a rival to Ventspils Nafta.

Added to all this the successful meeting of Latvian and Russian foreign ministers last week in Moscow and the worsening of relations between Russia's LUKoil and the Lithuanian-American company Mazeikiu Nafta, the future of Ventspils Oil starts to look brighter.

The weekly stock turnover of the Riga bourse last week was just 182,000 lats, almost unchanged from a week before, from this Latvian stocks of the Baltic List contributed 65 percent at 207,000 euros.

Lithuania: The upward trend prevails

Trading on the National Stock Exchange of Lithuania remained active this week, with investors focusing on blue-chip Lietuvos Telekomas and secondary stock Ekranas.

The continuously tracked price index Litin-10 was off 0.32 percent to 1170.45 points, the blue-chip Official List index Litin climbed 3.03 percent to 493.23 points, and the secondary Current List index Litin-A rose 3.46 percent to 1151.59 points.

The price euro index of five Lithuanian Baltic List stocks also climbed, gaining 2.02 percent to 127.25 points over the week.

Lietuvos Telekomas climbed 4.4 percent to 2.35 litas with trade worth 1.42 million litas ($356,000).

According to brokers, growth has been due largely to "buy" recommendations issued by Vilniaus Bankas and (the British investment fund) Williams de Broe for shares in Lietuvos Telekomas earlier in January.

Cheese maker Rokiskio Suris edged up 0.53 percent to 20.80 litas amid a 415,300 litas turnover, however, nearly the entire turnover was generated on one trading session on Jan. 17.

"It has become a tradition that some deals in Rokiskio Suris shares, which could be carried out through block trading, are made on the central market, possibly to avoid identifying the buyer and seller," Finasta broker Aurelijus Rimkus said, commenting on the increased trading volume.

According to brokers, the activity in Snaige's shares, which generated a large portion of central market turnover during the previous week, ebbed following the Jan.13 shareholder's meeting. The refrigerator producer tumbled 5.30 percent in trade worth just 132,900 litas.

The brewer Kalnapilis rocketed up 7.32 percent to 4.40 litas amid 132,500 litas turnover on speculative trading as uncertainty over a possible sell-out of a controlling stake prevails on the market.

TV-tube producer Ekranas led the trade on the Current List, posting 828,800 litas in turnover. Ekranas rocketed 11.37 percent to 8.03 litas.

"The demand for these shares remains high, but to my mind the price still does not reflect the company's economic performance. The number of foreign investors who are interested in this stock is going up as the company promises to discuss the possibility of listing its shares on the Official List," Arvydas Jacikevicius, Suprema's broker said.

Electronic component maker Vilniaus Vingis charged ahead by 9.38 percent to 4.78 litas amid a 483,300 litas turnover. However, Jacikevicius said that shares in Vilniaus Vingis should be viewed with caution because of possible overpricing.

The shipping firm LISCO climbed 5.38 percent to 2.35 litas on a 333,200 litas turnover, and gas utility Lietuvos Dujos rocketed up 19.59 percent to 1.77 litas in trade worth 172,800 litas.

Oil concern Mazeikiu Nafta tumbled 7.06 percent to 0.79 litas amid a 233,000 litas turnover.

Hansabankas broker Tomas Andrejauskas said that the drop in Mazeikiu Nafta's share price could be related to the pessimistic announcement of the president of the U.S. company Williams International about possibilities to agree with the Russian company LUKoil on long-term oil supply.

Pharmaceuticals Sanitas charged ahead by 17.46 percent to 14.80 litas over the week amid a 104,800 litas turnover.

A total of 741,800 litas worth of shares in the furniture maker Klaipedos Baldai changed hands via block deals.

The bourse's overall equity turnover reached 5.96 million litas, with just 578,211 euros (37 percent of the total) generated in Baltic List trading.