Baltic index and capitalization at record highs

  • 2002-04-18
  • Boris Epsteins
The Baltic index and the Baltic List capitalization rose to record highs due to steep gains by highly-liquid Estonian stocks.

The Baltic index of 13 Latvian, Lithuania and Estonian blue chip prices in euros added 0.61 percent to 164.20 points.

Six stocks posted gains, while six fell and one stayed even.

Upward movement by leading Estonian stocks boosted the Baltic List capitalization 3 percent to 3.04 billion euros ($2.68 billion).

The Baltic List turnover grew from 7 million euros to 8.5 million euros due to active trade in Estonian stocks, which contributed 77.5 percent of the weekly turnover.

Latvia's Baltic List stocks - the gas company Latvijas Gaze - also brought in quite a substantial amount of 21.2 percent.

Estonian and Latvian Baltic List stocks dominated on their respective local markets, generating over 70 percent of stock market turnover on their home bourses in the outgoing week. In Lithuania this figure was about 13 percent.

Shares traded in Tallinn showed strength, with trade more active than usual recorded in the shares of in the brewer Saku Olletehas and retailer Tallinna Kaubamaja.

The TALSE index climbed 4.82 percent to 186.53 points, and calculated in euros the Estonian part of the Baltic Index was up 2.85 percent at 155.67 points.

The total turnover during the five days came to 170.5 million kroons ($9.6 million). The last time the weekly turnover hit that high was in the second half of January.

Estonia's Baltic List shares contributed 65 percent of the total turnover, or 103.2 million kroons.

"Hansapank's share made a major rise and interest in Telekom was also there ahead of the news about dividends," Hansabank Markets trader Romet Tepper told the Baltic News Service.

Hansapank's price rose 5.89 percent to a record high of 222.34 kroons amid a turnover of 42.7 million kroons.

The biggest turnover for any issue was the 65.2 million kroons generated by shares in the Saku Olletehas brewery. The price, however, fell 10.34 percent to 58.36. "The large turnover was produced by deals before and after the dividend was fixed," Tepper said.

The last cum-dividend day for Saku was April 8. Shares bought later were not entitled to the 5 kroon annual dividend.

Trading activity on the Latvian stock market, which grew more brisk as new shares in Latvijas Gaze appeared on the market, seems to be slowing down.

The weekly stock market turnover fell 8 percent to 1.43 million lats ($2.25 million).

Of this, 70 percent, or 1.01 million lats, were contributed by the Baltic List stocks, including 1 million lats brought in by Latvijas Gaze and 12,000 lats contributed by the Ventspils Nafta oil terminal.

The Latvian stock exchange indexes moved in different directions. The Dow Jones Riga Stock Exchange capitalization index was up 1.02 percent to 177.61 points, while the RICI price index was down 1.00 percent to 189.57 points.

The Latvian Baltic index of Baltic List stock prices in euros added 0.99 percent to 235.88 points.

Latvijas Gaze climbed 2.18 percent to 5.52 lats per share.

The gain could be due to proceedings started by the gas company against the public utilities regulator, which failed to approve a natural gas rate hike sought by Latvijas Gaze.

If the company wins the case, the question about rates will be solved in favor of Latvijas Gaze and it may also be awarded compensation from the state budget for lost profits.

The Ventspils Nafta oil terminal lost 1.4 percent to 0.70 lats. The downward trend was probably due to a steep decline in world oil prices. In addition, a new agreement between Russia's Yukos and Lithuania's Mazeikiu Nafta on long-term deliveries of oil, both for refining and transit, brought the Latvian company no good tidings.

Most liquid stocks in Lithuania lost ground amid low trading volumes. As few as six stocks generated a turnover of over 100,000 litas ($25,510) on the central market, while none topped 250,000 litas.

All the bourse's major indexes drifted lower. Its benchmark Litin-10 price index edged down 1.59 percent to 1,177.08 points; the blue chip Litin index fell 1.83 percent to 359.83 points, and the broad Litin-G index was off 2.69 percent to 970.14 points.

Calculated in euros, the price index of six Lithuanian Baltic List shares fell 1.47 percent to 147.41 points.

The week's equity turnover reached just 3.05 million litas, with government securities trading generating 395,332 litas or 13 percent of the total.

On the blue chip official list, Lietuvos Telekomas fell 2.01 percent to 1.46 litas on a turnover of 239,100 litas.

Market participants said the telecom share price was being dragged down by unfavorable trends on international markets, and even the news that the company's shareholders are to approve a dividend of 11 percent in their meeting on April 26 was unable to offset losses.

The Mazeikiu Nafta oil company was down 1.19 percent to 0.83 litas, with 108,100 litas worth of shares traded. In block trading, 42,900 litas, worth of shares in Mazeikiu Nafta changed owners.

The oil company's share price was not greatly affected by the news that Williams, the U.S. operator of Mazeikiu Nafta, and Yukos had initialed agreements on the Russian company's investment in the Lithuanian oil company and on long-term crude oil supplies to the Mazeikiai refinery.

This is good news for the market, but no surge in the share price should be expected until more details about this deal are available.