This time weak euro didn't help...

  • 2000-05-11
Despite the help of the falling euro boosting the price of Latvian and Lithuanian shares quoted in euros, the Baltic Index of the region's blue-chips fell 0.94 percent to 115.67. Falling share prices of Estonian and Latvian stocks quoted on the Baltic List helped bring down the overall index.

In Estonia a 7.91 percent drop in Norma's share price, to 2.68 euros ($2.40), was fully expected due to a dividend payment, but dips in Uhispank and Telekom's prices as well helped push down Estonian shares. The Estonian composite index of the Baltic List fell 1.74 percent last week to 106.26. The Tallinn Stock Exchange's TALSE index fell 1.34 percent to 155.76.

The Latvian composite index fell 1.62 percent to 124.83, which is much better than Riga Stock Exchange's official indexes. The RICI price index plunged 6.83 percent to 172.58, while the cap-weighted DJRSE fell 3.71 percent to 108.03. Of Latvian stocks quoted on the Baltic List, Ventspils Nafta suffered the sharpest fall, almost seven percent, to 1.41 euros. A non-Baltic List stock but quoted on the RSE's official list, Riga Transport Fleet, had its share price plummet 18.75 percent to 0.13 lats ($0.21).

The Lithuanian composite index grew 1.02 percent to 122.98, almost catching Latvian stocks. The Lithuanian gain was totally due to the euro however, which lost 3.22 percent over the week against the U.S. dollar, the peg currency for Lithuania's litas. The Lithuanian National Stock Exchange's official indexes, calculated in litas, mostly fell. The official list LITIN index fell 1.27 percent to 579.43, while the LITIN-10 dropped 2.10 percent to 1132.15.

Turnover of Baltic List stocks totaled 4.32 million euros, down by almost half from the previous week.

Estonian shares quoted on the Baltic List generated 3.24 million euros or 75 percent of the total. Latvian shares had a turnover of 802,000 euros (18.5 percent) and Lithuanian stocks 287,000 euros (6.5 percent). Baltic List stocks accounted for between 80-90 percent of share turnover on the Estonian and Latvian bourses, but just 15 percent on the Lithuanian bourse.

The market capitalization of the Baltic List on May 5 totaled 2.75 billion euros, down 1.1 percent over the week. The Estonian stocks' capitalization fell 1.5 percent to 2.03 billion euros. The capitalization of Latvian stocks 427.7 million euros, down 1.5 percent. The capitalization of Lithuanian stocks increased 2.3 percent to 215 million euros.

Estonia: Dividend payments send prices down

Share prices were mostly down last week on the Tallinn Stock Exchange with the main mover of price news being dividend payments. The fixing of the shareholder list for payment of dividends in Norma led to a fall in the seatbelt manufacturer's share price the following day. The drop in Eesti Telekom's share price was due to investors' disappointment over the small size of the dividend payment. The TALSE index slipped 1.34 percent to 155.76. The Estonian composite of the Baltic Index fell 1.74 percent to 106.26.

Trading in Eesti Telekom shares was limp all week in both Tallinn and London, with the rising dollar rate helping brake the slide in its price in Tallinn. On a turnover of 1.6 million kroons ($91,843) the stock dipped 2.41 percent to 131.75 kroons. Trigon Securities specialist Kristel Kivinurm believes Telekom's shares will dovetail the moves of other telecom shares and the Nasdaq. Bad news for the stock was the unexpectedly low dividend payment. Given the company's over-capitalization, the dividend payment could have been 8-10 kroons per share instead of the four kroons decided by the major shareholders.

In percentage terms shares in Norma were the worst hit last week as investors priced out the payment of the 3.00 kroons per share dividend. Kivinurm noted the stock did not fall as much as could have been expected, as the share was actively sold before the fixing of the shareholder list for the dividend payment and some speculators could realize their gains early. Norma finished the week at 41.90 kroons, down 7.91 percent.

Shares in Hansapank spent most of the week around the 138 kroon level. They closed Friday at 137.75 kroons, a gain of 0.73 percent for the week.

Kivinurm noted that interest in Uhispank's shares appeared on the market, and that if there is an upswing in the market, shares in Uhispank could bring investors a bigger gain. But Uhispank ended last week down 1.95 percent at 30.20 kroons.

Without fresh news about the purchase of a majority stake in Optiva by Finland's Sampo group, shares in Estonia's third-largest bank didn't move, ending the week at 8.00 kroons.

Speculators seized on privatization vouchers due to an upcoming Compensation Fund issue and news that the number of vouchers in circulation may not be enough pay for privatization of municipal land that will soon go on offer. The vouchers gained 2.42 percent last week to 0.49 kroons.

Turnover during the four trading days last week totaled 64 million kroons. Shares in Hansapank had the biggest turnover of 24.4 million kroons followed by Norma at 19.9 million euros.

Latvia: Hockey effect?

Last week trading was thin, which many specialists attribute to Latvians being more interested in the fortunes of the country's hockey team rather than their personal fortunes. Share prices mostly slid in the thin turnover. The RICI price index plunged 6.83 percent to 172.58, while the cap-weighted DJRSE index fell 3.71 percent to 108.03. The pace of the fall of Latvian shares last week topped not only the Baltics, but nearly the world.

The falling euro couldn't compensate for the 6.67 percent fall in Ventspils Nafta's share price, to 1.41 euros. That VN's shares would likely fall was no surprise even before the failure of the government to acution five percent of the company's shares at the inflated price of 1.94 lats. Investors who wanted to amass a stake in the company have probably already done so on the bourse, and at a much lower price than offered by the Latvian Privatization Agency. Already for nearly two months VN shares have been the leader on the market in terms of turnover, and this past week they accounted for nearly half of the turnover of shares on the RSE with a turnover of 249,000 lats. The Privatization Agency is now talking about the need to reduce the price and increase the size of the stake on offer, but until concrete plans are formulated a rebound in VN's share price is unlikely.

Unibanka's share price remained fairly stable last week. It fell 1.9 percent in lats to 1.59 lats, but due to the falling euro it stayed at 2.92 euros.

Among non-Baltic List stocks, the 6.7 percent drop in Valmiera Fiberglass' share price to 0.42 lats is notable. Suprema analyst Reinis Ceplis believes the company's shares are overvalued given that the company's performance has been worsening every year.

The situation for Riga Transport Fleet is even worse. Its shares sank 18.75 percent to 0.13 lats, which isn't surprising given 1.7 million lats of losses last year and a forecast of a similar loss this year. The situation is so dire the company's management doesn't exclude quitting quotation on the bourse.

Turnover of stocks during last week's four working days totaled 502,000 lats.

Lithuania: Quiet before Telekom storm?

Trading was at its traditionally quiet pace in Vilnius last week, with share prices continuing to slide gently. The official list LITIN index fell 1.27 percent to 579.43, while the LITIN-10 price index was down 2.10 percent at 1132.15. The current list LITIN-A index gained 0.30 percent to 1086.20. The Lithuanian composite index gained 1.02 percent last week to 122.98. According to brokers many investors are waiting for news about the public offer of shares in Lietuvos Telekomas, and interest in other stocks has waned.

Trading in Vilniaus Bankas' shares remains liquid, with a turnover of 925,000 litas ($231,250) last year. The bank's share price in litas held firm at 32 litas last week, but jumped 3.22 percent because of the change in the exchange rate to 8.97 euros.

Despite the euro boost, shares in Rokiskio Suris fell 1.5 percent to 5.89 euros. Among non-Baltic List stocks the sharp drop in Birzu Dairy's share price is notable.

The official list stock dove 16.47 percent to 0.71 litas after announcing first quarter losses of 4.6 million litas. On the current list trading in Lietuvos Energija's shares remains active. The company's share price held at 5.00 litas on a turnover of 230,000 litas. Shares in Lietuvos Taupomasis Bankas (Savings Bank) jumped 3.69 percent to 6.47 litas on a turnover of nearly 300,000 litas. Turnover of shares on the bourse totaled 6.9 million litas last week.