Baltic markets try to catch short-lived Western fortune

  • 2002-08-22
  • Boris Epsteins
Most of the Baltic bourse's blue chip stocks made gains last week, reflecting upswings on the world's markets.

The Baltic List's capitalization also improved. The index of the 14 most highly capitalized Baltic List stocks gained 1.12 percent last week, reaching 159.71 points.

Four stocks fell last week, while seven reported gains and three Lithuanian stock priced in euros remained unchanged.

A sharp rise in Estonia's Hansapank, as well as the Latvian Shipping Company and oil terminal Ventspils Nafta brought the Baltic List capitalization up 1.5 percent to 2.67 billion euros.

Slow trade on the Latvian and Lithuanian bourses was reflected in a turnover drop of a third over the week to 3.1 million euros.

The Estonian stock market saw 90 percent of the trading action.

Trade in Hansapank late in the week buoyed the Tallinn bourse, which had suffered from summer doldrums earlier in the week.

The stock index TALSE gained 1.58 percent over the week and closed at 163.50 points. Calculated in euros, the price index of five Estonian Baltic List shares gained 1.68 percent to 145.07 points.

The Estonian bourse's weekly turnover was 49.1 million kroons (3.15 million euros) on 319 transactions. Estonia's Baltic List shares generated 45.3 million kroons in turnover, 92 percent of the total.

After slipping for four consecutive weeks, shares in Hansapank ended 3.06 percent higher at 189.48 kroons. Turnover on Hansapanka deals was 40 million kroons, 82 percent of the total stock exchange turnover.

Eesti Telekom, by contrast, dipped 0.47 percent to close the week at 66.65 kroons on trade of 3.1 million kroons.

Hansapanka will release it second-quarter report Aug. 23, which is expected to prompt activity on the bourse this week.

In Latvia, slow trade pushed the bourse indexes up slightly, reflecting trends on the world markets.

The Dow Jones/Riga Stock Exchange index in lats gained 1.18 percent to 169.47 points, while the euro-priced Baltic List index gained 1.07 percent to 188.31 points.

Meanwhile, the RICI price index dropped 0.38 percent to 212.28 points, caused mostly by a 9.52 percent tumble of the fishery Kaija following an insolvency claim.

Aggregate turnover was down to a 10th of the previous week's at 114,822 lats (194,600 euros), with no large block deals carried out on the stock market last week.

Latvia's Baltic List stocks provided 53,440 lats in turnover, or 46.5 percent of the total.

The gas utility Latvijas Gaze fell 0.76 percent on a turnover of 35,246 lats. Latvian Shipping Company shares gained 3.3 percent over the week on a turnover or 15,229 lats. If world markets remain stable, these shares may keep gradually rising.

The possible rise in oil prices and increased pressure on Iraq has helped boost the value of the shipping company's large tanker fleet. It has also contributed to the upward push on the price of Ventspils Nafta, which increased 6.5 percent last week.

The Lithuanian stock exchange closed amid a lack of market-moving news during the week, which lasted just three days due to two state holidays.

On the central market, most stocks generated modest turn-overs, while in block trading more than 70 percent of fertilizer producer Lifosa changed hands.

The bourse's benchmark price index Litin-10 was off 0.22 percent to 1234.27 points. The blue chip index Litin fell 0.74 percent to 307.12 points, while the broad index Litin-G rose 0.08 percent to 942.94 points.

Calculated in euros, the price index of six Lithuanian Baltic List shares gained 0.73 percent to 157.62 points.

Thanks to a large number of block deals, the week's equity turnover reached 17.04 million litas (4.94 million euros), of which 312,130 litas - less than 2 percent of the turnover - were generated by Baltic List securities.

On the Official List, blue chip Lietuvos Telekomas fell 0.92 percent to 1.08 litas in trade worth 86,000 litas. Rokiskio Suris was flat at 27.00 litas on a turnover of 74,100 litas. The electronics firm Vilniaus Vingis held steady at 6.10 litas in trade worth 49,100 litas.

Amid investors' optimism about this year's results, refrigerator maker Snaige climbed 4.52 percent to 68, a record high, with 34,100 litas' worth of shares traded. TV tube manufacturer Ekranas closed 2.76 percent lower at 6 litas with 45,700 litas' worth of shares traded.

Dairy producer Pieno Zvaigzdes slid 2.99 percent to 1.30 litas amid a turnover of 7,600 litas. Knitwear producer Utenos Trikotazas remained stable at 2.90 litas in trade worth 2,400 litas.

On Aug. 12, some 70.38 percent of shares in fertilizer manufacturer Lifosa changed hands via four block deals for 15.55 million litas. The buyer was the Cyprus-registered company Eolian Trading, controlled by Eurochem, one of Russia's leading mineral fertilizer producers.

The price ranged from 1.53 litas to 2.24 litas per share with a nominal value of 20 litas. Lifosa's shares were last traded on the central market on Aug. 9, when their price stood at 5.05 litas.