Hansapank and Latvijas Gaze continue to dominate

  • 2002-04-11
  • Boris Epsteins
Trade with highly liquid Baltic stocks slowed in the outgoing week, but Estonia's Hansapank and the Latvian gas company Latvijas Gaze continued to dominate the market.

Despite the downward trend of Baltic telecom stocks, the Baltic index grew 1.57 percent to 163.20 points over the week, hitting a record high of 163.81 points at midweek.

Gainers outnumbered losers 8 to 4 on the Baltic List, which comprises 13 Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian blue chips, as Estonia's Merko Ehitus construction company stayed flat.

Baltic telecom stocks moved down in full concert with trends on the world stock markets where high-tech stocks suffered substantial losses. In particular, the U.S. technology index NASDAQ dropped 4.1 percent.

Falling telecom prices brought the Baltic List capitalization down a little, by 0.3 percent to 2.95 billion euros ($2.59 billion).

Because of the Easter holidays, the Baltic markets were open for four days last week, not the usual five, so the Baltic List's weekly turnover was just 7 million euros (as compared to 8.8 million euros in the preceding week).

Estonian stocks made up 61 percent of the weekly total and contribution by Latvian stocks also was quite substantial at 35 percent.

The Baltic List stocks kept the lead on local stock markets in Estonia and Latvia, bringing in over 90 percent of the turnover. In Lithuania and Latvia this figure was around 5 percent.

Following the Easter holidays, the four days of trading on the Tallinn Stock Exchange in the last week were passive, with downward trends prevailing.

The stock index dropped 0.76 percent to 177.96 points.

Still, calculated in euros the price index of five Estonian Baltic List shares rose 0.7 percent to 151.36 points because of the surging low-liquid Tallinna Kaubamaja retailer's stock after announcing large dividends.

The turnover from 319 deals totaled 71.3 million kroons ($4 million), of which 94 percent was generated in deals with Baltic List shares, and Hansapank was turn-over leader as usual.

It climbed 0.15 percent to 209.98 kroons.

"With regard to Telekom, the storm raised by the news of the merger of Sonera and Telia abated," the investment bank Suprema broker Riho Talumaa said. "On Western markets the telecommunication sector put in a weak performance, and for this reason the share lost ground here."

Eesti Telekom closed April 5 at 82.46 kroons, down by 2.23 percent. The week's turnover was 7.23 million kroons.

Tallinna Kaubamaja gained 4.38 percent to 59.61 kroons amid 246,994 kroons in turnover as shareholders in the department store will be paid record 10 kroon dividends per share this year. However, in the coming years the dividends should remain at the previous years' levels of 1 to 2 kroons per share.

Trading activity on the Latvian stock market did not ease up.

Although Latvijas Gaze remained the unquestionable stock market leader by turnover, trading in the Ventspils Nafta oil terminal was also brisk.

All Latvian stock exchange indexes moved up. The Dow Jones Riga Stock Exchange capitalization index climbed 1.66 percent to 175.82 points, and the RICI price index put on 1.47 percent to 191.49 points.

The Latvian Baltic index of Baltic List stocks in euros grew 1.69 percent to 233.57 points.

The weekly turnover on the stock market reached 1.55 million lats ($2.4 million). The Baltic List stocks contributed 90 percent of the total.

Quite unexpectedly, the Strencu MRS forestry company from the free list came second by trade last week with 137,000 lats due to an inside deal between the company owners.

The Ventspils Nafta price grew 1.43 percent to 0.71 lats. It is quite likely Russia will lift oil export restrictions in May, and reloading by Ventspils Nafta is bound to grow as a result.

In the unlikely case of the situation in the Middle East getting worse and Arab countries imposing an oil embargo on the United States, Ventspils Nafta would stand to gain from a sudden increase in oil deliveries from Russia.

Secondary-list dairy Panevezio Pienas was at the center of trading interest on the Lithuanian stock exchange, as the country's two leading dairy groups (both main-listed in the bourse) crossed swords over the Panevezys-based company. Other stocks were largely neglected.

The bourse's benchmark price index Litin-10 edged up 2.16 percent to 1196.08 points, the blue chip index Litin was off 0.82 percent to 366.54 points. The Litin-G index fell 0.50 percent to 996.94 points.

Calculated in euros, the price index of six Lithuanian Baltic List shares rose 2.26 percent to 149.6 points. The week's equity turnover reached 16.8 million litas ($4.3 million). The total Lithuanian Baltic List turnover came to 857,268 litas, just 5 percent of the equity turnover.

Listed on the secondary current list, Panevezio Pienas climbed 2.37 percent to 2.16 litas on a turnover of 265,300 litas. Rokiskio Suris acquired 8.25 litas worth of shares in Panevezio Pienas via block deals at a price ranging from 2.10 litas to 3.76 litas. Also on April 5, Pieno Zvaigzdes completed the tender offer and acquired 11.67 percent of shares in Panevezio Pienas for 3.47 million litas, boosting its stake to 62.11 percent.