Stock trade on Baltic markets keeps dwindling

  • 2002-05-16
  • Boris Epsteins
Trading activity subsided on the Baltic stock exchanges this week with no growing trend shown by most of the stocks.

However, the Baltic index of the most capitalized Baltic blue chip stocks jumped 0.4 percent to 161.22 points thanks to sharp gains by Estonia's Merko Ehitus construction company.

Of 13 stocks traded on the Baltic List, five were gainers and six were losers while two Lithuanian stocks stood flat over the week.

The Baltic List's capitalization stood almost unchanged over the week at 2.98 billion euros ($2.72 billion).

The Baltic List's turnover meanwhile fell to 4.14 million euros from 4.99 million euros a week earlier, partly explained by the short four-day week on the Estonian stock market.

Estonian stocks contributed 86 percent of the weekly turnover, Lithuanian stocks 10 percent and Latvian stocks just 4 percent.

In Estonia, the Baltic List stocks secured over 90 percent of stock trade on their home bourse, the Tallinn Stock Exchange, while in Lithuania and Latvia the Baltic List stocks contributed less than a half of the total stock trade.

Falling moods dominated in Tallinn, but Merko leaped up 6 percent as a result of good first-quarter results.

The TALSE stock index gained 0.70 percent during the week and closed at 184.86 points. Also, the price index of five Estonian Baltic List shares gained 1.26 percent to 149.59 points.

The total turnover during the week was 59 million kroons ($ 3.4 million), of this 75 percent from deals with Hansapank stock and 94 percent from deals with Baltic List shares.

Shares in the building company Merko climbed 6.13 percent to 62.27 kroons on trade of 400,000 kroons.

"Merko's figures, which indicated a good year, met analysts' expectations but exceeded them in terms of efficiency," Suprema trader Riho Talumaa said. "The results were reflected in the price, but there wasn't much to offer on the market."

"Most of the week's turnover was in Hansapank," the trader said. The price of the share came down 0.22 percent to 217.33 kroons on trade of 44.4 million kroons.

Stock turnover on the Riga Stock Exchange this week more than halved compared to the previous week, but most of the stock prices retained stability or even followed the trend of growth.

The capitalization index DJRSE in lats gained 0.88 percent over the week to reach 190.94 points, while the RICI price index swelled 3.6 percent to 224.21 points.

The Latvian index of Baltic List stocks calculated in euros fell 0.22 percent to 246.61 points, but the decrease was only triggered by fluctuations in the euro exchange rate against the lat.

The weekly turnover on the bourse was just 197,362 lats ($314,271), down from over 400,000 lats a week earlier. The Baltic List stocks contributed 87,600 lats or 44 percent of the total turnover.

The gas company Latvijas Gaze gained 0.67 percent to 6.04 lats amid 84,161 lats in trade.

The growth of Latvijas Gaze is attributable in part to the plans of its German shareholders Ruhrgas and E.ON to raise their share in the gas company's capital.

Reports said Ruhrgas had turned to another Latvijas Gaze shareholder, Russia's Itera, asking it to sell its Latvijas Gaze's shares.

But it would be worthwhile remembering that Itera bought a block of Latvijas Gaze's shares in a privatization auction at a price of above 11 lats per share, so it is unlikely it will sell the shares to the Germans at their current market price, which is nearly 50 percent lower.

The RICI price index was pushed up by significant gains in second-list stocks. Ditton motor chain factory shot up 18.18 percent to 0.13 lats while both pharmaceutical companies Olainfarm and Grindex swelled 11.11 percent to 0.1 lats and 7.84 percent to 0.55 lats respectively. Rigas Kugu Buvetava shipyard shot up 10.71 percent to 0.31 lats.

Trade was extremely sluggish on the Lithuanian stock exchange. The last day of the week saw a slight pick-up, but this did not help to bring the market out of early-summer doldrums as secondary-listed and low-liquidity furniture producer Klaipedos Baldai led trade in terms of turnover.

The bourse's benchmark price index Litin-10 rose 0.02 percent to 1160.57 points, and the blue chip index Litin went up 0.55 percent to 330.98 points. But the broad index Litin-G was off 2.19 percent to 985.89 points.

The price index of six Lithua-nian Baltic List's shares was un-changed over the week at 151.2 points.

The week's equity turnover came to just 4 million litas ($1.05 million), with Baltic List turnover reaching 1.5 million litas or 36 percent of the total.

On the Official List, Lietuvos Telekomas closed 0.78 percent higher at 1.30 litas in trade worth 178,300 litas. Early in the week, Telekomas saw brisker trade, but drifted lower to 1.23 litas. Later the stock moved up amid slower trade.

The tender offer of Germany's Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale (Nord/LB) for the outstanding shares in Zemes Ukio Bankas, Lithuania's third-biggest bank in terms of assets, expired on May 9. The German bank raised its shareholding to 88.14 percent.