Stock markets: weekly report (February 20 - 25)

  • 1999-03-04
Estonia: Falling Telekom pulls down TALSE

Eesti Telekom which slid the entire week both in London and in Tallinn, was the only main-list stock to end the week down. However, it was enough to pull down TSE's main stock index. The TALSE index dropped 4.98 percent during the week to end at 107.37.

Estonian Telekom closed at 101 kroons ($7.22), down 13.53 percent from the previous week.

Riho Talumaa, a broker with Talinvest Suprema, believes local investors' buying interest in Telekom will reappear at prices below the 100 kroon level, because at this level pressure on the sell side should be weak.

In London Telekom's GDRs have been slipping the whole week. On Friday shares were quoted at the equivalent of 99.4-101 Estonian kroons.

Hansapank rose in the first half of the week to the 80 kroon level, where investors who had earlier purchased shares apparently were now taking profits.

The shares edged down Friday under the influence of Hansapank Group's economic results for 1998, closing at 74.50 kroons, unchanged from last week's close.

Hansapank Group on Friday posted a loss of 60.5 million kroons for last year.

Talinvest Suprema analyst Paavo Pold said the results were not a surprise. Although the group's loss was slightly larger than expected, it was not frightening, he said.

Pold observed that bigger-than-forecast provisions do not alter the value of the company.

"It's good that the provisions made last year will not burden future profit and loss accounts," he said. "Also, at the current price level the shares should have enough room to rise."

Uhispank gained 3.38 percent over the week, closing at 24.50 kroons. Both Optiva Bank and Merko Ehitus (Merko Construction) ended 20 percent higher than last Friday, at 8.10 and 13.20 kroons, respectively.

Tallinna Kaubamaja closed the week at 25.60 kroons, up by 28 percent from last Friday.

Deals with Hansapank and Telekom each accounted for roughly one- third of the exchange system's total turnover for last week. Uhispank accounted for 26.5 million kroons, or 13.8 percent of the total.

Latvia: Unibanka back on top

Last week Unibanka's stock returned to its accustomed spot at the head of the pack in trading volume. It generated a turnover of 316,000 lats ($545,000), or almost half of Riga Stock Exchange's total weekly turnover.

The increased trading activity did not lead to Unibanka's share price rising, however, nor to a rise in the RSE's indexes. The RICI was virtually unchanged for the week at 173.39 and the DJRSE was off just 0.37 percent for the week at 90.93 points.

The majority of trading in Unibanka shares was done in direct deals, in volatile trading marked by prices ranging from 0.88 to 1.25 lats. On the central market their price slid 1.2 percent during the week to 0.90 lats by Friday.

Trasta Komercbanka broker Uldis Bulavs said a significant rise in Unibanka's share price was unlikely in the near future.

"Only strategic long-term investors who aren't thinking about a quick rise in price are ready to buy Unibanka shares today," said Bulavs.

The second most active stock in terms of trading volume was Ventspils Oil, with 100,000 lats worth of the terminal's shares trading hands. Its share price slid 1.35 percent to 0.73 lats. Bulavs said demand for Ventspils Oil's shares significantly exceeded supply at the end of the week, though, so we should see upward pricing pressure this week.

The success (or lack thereof) of Lithuanians to convince Russian oil exporters to use the new Butinge terminal will likely positively influence Ventspils Oil's stock price over the coming months.

The decision of the Latvian Privatization Agency to sell a bloc of shares in Latvian Gas for a minimum price of 1.80 lats took many by surprise. The company's market share price on Friday was just 1.05 lats, after having climbed 2 percent over the week.

Bulavs believes that the LPA, as in the recent auction of Unibanka shares, is counting on the participation of a strategic investor to justify its pricing scheme. Otherwise, it is likely to fail just as it was witnessed in the case of Latvijas Balzams shares.

Lithuania: Share trading not national pastime

Trading turnover on the Lithuanian National Stock Exchange continued to fall last week, with volume totaling just 9 million litas ($2.25 million), and only half of that traded on the central market.

The blue-chip Litin index climbed on the light turnover while the LitinA fell. The Litin finished the week up 3.49 percent to 564.86 points and the LitinA down 1.71 to 1141.17 points. Market analysts are divided on market outlook though all share a lack of optimism.

"A serious increase in the market isn't expected, but a 5 percent rise in liquidity is completely possible," said PFM Hansabank Markets trader Aivaras Abromavicius.

Others are less optimistic.

"There is no news on the market, it is difficult to predict either a rise or a fall, and changes aren't to be expected in the near future," commented Baltijos Vertybiniai Popieriai's Dmitry Dutov.

The exchange's turnover totaled a robust 45.52 million litas§, but 80 percent of it consisted of government T-bills.

On the central market only shares in Vilnius Bank, cheese maker Rokiskio Suris and Lithuanian Energy saw active trading.

Shares in Vilnius Bank surged to 28.75 litas on Tuesday but slid the rest of the week to end down 0.18 percent at 27.59 litas. Turnover totaled 1.99 million litas.

Rokiskio Suris' shares jumped 2.91 percent to 19.46 litas on a turnover of 1.03 million litas.

Trading in Hermis Bank's shares was almost nonexistent on the central market and its share price did not change.

"Hermis' share price is very high for many investors, so trading won't be very active in the near future," said Litimpeks Bank broker Vincas Vanagas.

Trading in Lithuanian Energy's shares picked up after the Swedish company Vattenfall announced an official offer for up to 10 percent of LE's shares.

LE's share price was off 0.2 percent at 4.91 litas on a turnover of 444,400 litas.

Trading in other shares was sluggish, although interest in breweries picked up in the second half of the week.