Baltic index dragged down by Latvian and Lithuanian stocks

  • 2002-01-10
  • Boris Epsteins
Last week Lithuanian and Latvian stocks dragged the Baltic index down, after reaching a record high of 156.1 on the last trading day of 2001. The first week of 2002 saw the index slip 2 percent to 152.86. Almost all Lithuanian stocks fell in euro prices by 4 percent to 6 percent, while Latvia's oil terminal Ventspils Nafta fell by almost 8 percent. Meanwhile, Estonia's high-liquidity shares gained on average 2 percent to 4 percent.

Capitalization of the Baltic List on January 4 was 2.58 billion euros ($2.32 billion). Baltic List turnover reached 1.8 million euros, 87 percent of which was produced by Estonian stocks.

Estonia: Key stocks firming on Tallinn bourse

The end of last week saw price gains for leading Estonian stocks as optimistic moods on foreign markets breathed new life into the market. The stock index TALSE climbed 2.8 percent to 147.95. Turnover totaled 24.2 million kroons ($1.39 million), 81 percent of this generated in deals with shares in Hansapank and Eesti Telekom.

"The most interesting development this week was the rise of Hansapank and Telekom shares," Preatoni Bank trader Denis Kolomenski said. Hansapank's closing price, 164.50 kroons, was the highest in the last four years and was up by 1.7 percent over the week. The share was the most traded security on the stock exchange here with 10.9 million kroons in turnover. Eesti Telekom posted gains of 3.18 percent, finishing at 73 kroons, its highest closing price in the last six months. The turnover was 8.66 million kroons.

Latvia: Little movement on Riga bourse so far

The short week of trade after the New Year celebrations saw no real movement on the Riga Stock Exchange, even though a number of shares lost substantial value. Along with the fall in Ventspils Nafta shares, the DJRSE capitalization index fell by 1.57 percent to 197.28. Meanwhile, the RICI price index rose 1.07 percent to 164.31. The bourse's turnover in three days of trade amounted to only 30,674 lats ($48,371).

The bourse's main event was the fall of Ventspils Nafta shares, by 7.14 percent, to 0.65 lats. This is seen to be the result of the opening of Russia's new Primorsk oil terminal, now the main rival to Ventspils in the competition for Russian oil exports. Reports of an 18.6 percent increase in cargo handling last year at Ventspils Nafta has not caused much enthusiasm amongst investors either, who expect a significant plunge in oil volumes in 2002. Trading in Ventspils Nafta shares amounted to only 11,719 lats for the week. Trading in the remaining relatively liquid stocks on the Latvian bourse was subdued.

The gas utility Latvijas Gaze was unchanged at 6.65 lats on a small turnover of 2,840 lats.

Lithuania: Shares start new year with downslide

The Lithuanian stock exchange started the new year on a sour note, with all major indexes heading lower. Market heavyweight Lietuvos Telekomas stole the show during the three day work week, while other stocks were almost totally ignored. The bourse's benchmark price index Litin-10 edged down 0.82 percent to 1,130.05, the blue chip index Litin eased 1.88 percent to 315.46, and the broad index Litin-G was off 0.92 percent to 847.46. Equity turnover for the three-day week reached just 992,404 litas ($248,101). Government securities trading generated 42.2 million litas.

Lietuvos Telekomas ended the week 2.4 percent lower at 1.22 litas amid a turnover of 715,600 litas. Despite the downslide brokers still are carefully optimistic. Market participants say it looked like major traders in Lietuvos Telekomas shares were returning to the market after the holidays. If they are more active on the buy side, a long-awaited rise in the company's share price may take place. Official and Baltic List newcomer dairy producer Pieno Zvaigzdes remained stable at 1.52 litas in trade worth 24,100 litas.