Stock markets: weekly report (November 26 - December 3)

  • 1999-12-09
Estonia: Shares rise in flush liquidity

Higher corporate turnovers and a positive economic background helped
Estonian stock prices rise in the outgoing week. The TALSE index
closed at 111.93 points, up by 1.68 percent during the week.

In terms of turnover, the outgoing week was one of the strongest of
late, Hansapank broker Lauri Lind observed. The exchange system's
aggregate turnover surpassed 150 million kroons ($9.72 million).
"Healthy turnovers indicate the return of liquidity to the market,"
the broker said. "Further support comes from the positive trend that
has set in." Of the main-list shares, Hansapank, Eesti Telekom,
Uhispank and Optiva Bank ended higher than on the previous Friday.

Local investors closing their short-term speculative positions led to
a slight decline in Norma, the previous week's leading riser. Norma
ended the outgoing week at 35.50 kroons, a drop of 0.56 percent from
the previous Friday. Telekom, whose ceiling in the outgoing week was
93.75 kroons, closed at 92.75 kroons or 1.37 percent higher than a
week ago on a turnover of 41.8 million kroons.

Hansapank, the most-traded share with 66 million kroons of turnover,
traded as high as 94.50 kroons during the week but slipped a little
towards the end of the week to close at 91 kroons. Hansapank
announced after the closing of the stock exchange Friday of its
Latvian subsidiary Hansabanka's intention to buy Ventspils UBB, a
bank in Latvia. In the wake of this news the price of the shares may
rebound to the 93 kroon level, Lind predicted.

The market is expecting more positive news in the form of the
statistics department's preliminary estimate of the third-quarter
economic growth. "As Western investors see it, even zero growth would
be positive news," the broker observed. The positive economic
background is bound to bring more Western buyers to the market at the
start of the new year, Lind reckons.

Latvia: Positive trend continues

The climb in share prices continued on the Riga Stock Exchange last
week, but the low turnover indicates there is still no new money on
the market. Liquidity of most stocks, even those that will be
included on the new Baltic list after the new year, remains
critically low. The DJRSE cap-weighted index climbed 2.44 percent
last week to 81.86 points, and the RICI price index jumped 4.83
percent to 168.50 points. The difference between the indexes is due
to the 15.4 percent jump in the share price of Rezeknes PKK milk
cannery to 0.15 lats ($0.26).

Of the main list liquid shares only Latvijas Gaze's price slid, a
0.56 percent drop to 1.77 lats. Other shares gained or held steady.
Trading was most active in shares of Unibanka, Ventspils Nafta and
Valmieras Stikla Skiedra, whose 170,000 lats in turnover accounted
for almost 70 percent of the total.

Shares in Ventspils Nafta jumped 10 percent to 0.55 lats on a
turnover of 28,500 lats. It cannot be excluded the shares could hit
0.60 lats before the close of the year. A possible decision of the
company on lowering reloading tariffs would improve the terminal's
competitiveness but would cut into profits. The world price of oil,
LUKoil's attitude towards Lithuania and Russian export tariffs will
also continue to influence Ventspils Nafta's share price.

Unibanka's share price closed in on the one-lat level once again,
climbing 1.04 percent to 0.97 lats. Most market players consider it
only a question of time before it breaks above the one-lat barrier
again. The main factor holding the bank's share price down is the
continuing problems with the administrator of Tolaram Fibers, a major
creditor. Shares in fiberglass maker Valmieras Stikla Skiedra jumped
4.35 percent to 0.48 lats. The company continues to record solid
growth, and the company's strategic investor intends to reinvest most
profits, which should lead to an increased competitive position in
the future.

Most experts do not expect higher activity on the bourse as the
Christmas holiday is approaching. But the trend of rising prices is
likely to continue with the occasional pause for profit-taking.

Lithuania: Holiday mood arrives

The main indexes of the Lithuanian stock exchange moved lower this
week as trading remained quiet, with a slight pick-up in activity
seen only on Friday. The real-time Litin-10 price index eased 1.56
percent to 1107.06 percent, the blue-chip Litin edged down 0.29
percent to 528.76, while the current list Litin-A slipped 2.05
percent to 1054.50. "You can see neither buyers nor sellers on the
bourse, but similar apathy is frequently felt ahead of the New Year,"
Baltic Securities broker Dmitry Dutov told the BNS. "Perhaps we can
expect more activity in January."

Blue-chip Hermis Bankas stayed in the focus of attention this week.
The bank's share price was off 0.02 percent to 127.07 litas ($31.77)
on 535,200 litas traded on the central market. Brokers say trading in
Hermis Bankas' shares should remain active until the mid-December
closing of Vilniaus Bankas' buy-out offer, with its share price seen
slowly moving up.

Vilniaus Bankas traded 337,200 litas on the central market during the
week. The bank's share price inched up 0.20 percent to 24.99 litas.
"The [bank's] share price remains more or less stable, which shows
that there is both demand and supply," VB Vilfima broker Kestutis
Kvainauskas said. "We can say that now they are liquid at the 25
litas level."

Rokiskio Suris was also more active, posting a weekly central market
turnover of 178,200 litas. The blue-chip cheese producer slid 2.17
percent to 22.50 litas during the week. "Large investors, dominating
both buy and sell transactions in these shares, show interest in the
company now and then," Kvainauskas said. Another 642,600 litas worth
of Rokiskio Suris' shares changed hands via block deals.

Trading in other official list stocks was passive this week. The
Birzu dairy dropped to 1.10 litas at one point, an all-time low for
the stock. Current list stocks saw little activity, too. Only the
state energy concern Lietuvos Energija, holding steady at 5 litas for
months, was more active as it traded 132,300 litas on the central
market. With deals worth 1.68 million litas concluded over the week,
Siauliu Bankas was the most active in block trading.

The bourse's total turnover was over 23.44 million litas, of which
nearly 1.47 million litas traded on the central market.