Baltic stock prices keep on growing

  • 2002-05-02
  • Boris Epsteins
Most of the Baltic states' stock indexes posted gains this week, with the Baltic index of 13 Baltic List stocks climbing 0.59 percent to 163.87 points.

Of the list's 13 stocks only three were losers, while eight were gainers and two Lithuanian stocks remained unchanged. The Baltic List's capitalization also grew 0.8 percent to 3.07 billion euros ($2.77 billion). But the list's weekly turnover was down to 10.4 million euros from 12.65 million euros a week earlier.

Estonian stocks contributed 71 percent of the list's turnover, Latvian stocks 25.5 percent and Lithuanian just 3.5 percent.

In Estonia and Latvia, the Baltic List stocks led trading on their home bourses securing over 90 percent of the turnover there, while in Lithuania this indicator was just 40 percent.

The Baltic List stocks are being affected by decreasing stock indexes in the United States and Europe, pulling down Baltic blue chips. Hansapank and Lietuvos Telekomas could fall further on their poor profit indicators.

As the Estonian market geared up for the release of first-quarter results by Hansapank and Eesti Telekom, it received a clear impact from an earnings alert issued by Hansapank two days before.

The TALSE index firmed 1.17 percent to finish at 191.33 on April 26. Still, the price index of Estonia's five Baltic List shares fell 0.61 percent to 149.59 points.

The 544 deals made in Tallinn this week produced a turnover of 118.6 million kroons ($6.8 million) - 74 percent of this from deals with Hansapank's stock. In total, Estonian Baltic List shares generated a turnover of 115.6 million kroons, 97.5 percent of the total.

Trigon Markets trader Kristel Kivinurm admitted that Hansapank's stock was the focus of the week. "Hansapank offered the market a nasty surprise by issuing a profit warning on April 23," Kivinurm said.

Hansapank's share lost about 3.5 percent of its value in the wake of the announcement, but recovered later to finish the week 2 percent stronger at 223.75 with a turnover of 87.8 million kroons.

Still, the share might fall again. "Hansapank's first quarter results are substantially below analysts' expectations," Kivinurm added.

This is why Trigon issued a "sell" recommendation on Hansapank's stock for the first time ever, she said.

Latvia's stock market indexes continued growing for the second week in a row. The RICI price index shot up 8.63 percent to 214.46 points, one of its highest-ever levels, with the growth fueled mainly by the rising prices of low-liquid second list stocks.

The DJRSE capitalization index in lats, meanwhile, climbed 1.97 percent over the week to 184.72 points as Latvijas Gaze continued moving upward.

The Latvian index of Baltic List stocks calculated in euros also gained 0.91 percent to reach 241.03 points.

Transactions with Latvijas Gaze increased the weekly stock turnover by four times to 1.63 million lats ($2.6 million).

Latvia's Baltic List stocks contributed 95 percent, or 1.5 million lats, to the weekly stock trade on the Riga bourse, with Latvijas Gaze changing hands for 1.31 million lats and Ventspils Nafta 190,000.

The central event of this week was an announcement of record-high profits for 2001 at Ventspils Nafta, at 24.7 million lats. The company also revised upward this year's profit target to 7.2 million lats. It should be noted that Ventspils Nafta is usually conservative in its profit forecasts.

The Lithuanian stock exchange saw dull trading this week. Blue chip Lietuvos Telekomas was the focus of investor interest, but it lost ground and, traders said, is likely to drop further following the company's announcement of lower-than-expected first quarter earnings.

The benchmark index Litin-10 rose 0.24 percent to 1,188.98 points, the blue chip index Litin was off 1.66 percent to 355.35 points, while the broad index Litin-G edged up 4.45 percent to 1,038.43 points.

The price index of Lithuania's six Baltic List shares rose 1.43 percent to 150.06 points. The equity turnover rose to 2.9 million litas ($750,000). Baltic List securities generated a turnover of 1.3 million litas - 42 percent of the total. On the official list, Lietuvos Telekomas slid 3.40 percent to 1.42 litas amid a turnover of 580,000 litas.

Lietuvos Telekomas said its net profit for the first quarter of 2002 fell by 30.4 percent year-on-year, to 21.4 million litas. Revenues were down by 6.9 percent to 247.9 million litas. The company's announcement came after the close of the April 25 session.

Arvydas Jacikevicius, a broker at Suprema, said Lietuvos Telekomas' first quarter results were bad news for the market, and that would have a negative effect on the company's share price, at least in the near-term.