Estonian stocks fuel Baltic Index climb

  • 2002-08-29
  • Boris Epsteins
Sharp gains posted by Estonian blue chip stocks last week made up for declines in Latvia and Lithuania to nudge the Baltic Index up and the Baltic List's capitalization.

The Baltic Index of 14 blue chips rose 0.61 percent over the week to 160.7 points.

Five Estonian stocks increased, five Latvian declined and three Lithuanian stocks were unchanged.

Gains by Eesti Telekom and Hansapank pushed up the Baltic List's capitalization by 4.1 percent to 2.78 billion euros.

The Estonian bourse worked only four days last week due to a national holiday and that, along with a lack of block deals on the Latvian and Lithuanian stock exchanges, led a to a dip in the Baltic List's weekly turnover to 2.3 million euros.

Estonian stocks contributed 94 percent of the Baltic List's turnover, while the Latvian and Lithuanian bourses contributed just 3 percent each.

Baltic List shares were the leaders on the Estonian bourse, contributing more than 85 percent of the total turnover.

Estonia's gains were thanks to by the share price of Eesti Telekom, which gained 10 percent last week, and Hansapank, which climbed above 200 kroons (12.50 euros).

The TALSE index gained a solid 7.54 percent during the week to finish at 175.83 points. The price index of the five Estonian Baltic List shares gained 3.96 percent to 150.82 points.

Most attention last week was focused on Hansapank, which released its third-quarter results on Aug. 23.

Hanspank closed the week at 203.41 kroons, a 7.35 percent increase compared with the previous Friday.

While Hansapank drew most of the week's attention, Eesti Telekom was the week's biggest winner. The stock finished at 73.38 kroons, up 10 percent compared with the previous week.

Bad news in connection with Latvia's leading transport and energy companies pulled down stock indexes on the Riga bourse last week.

The capitalization index Dow Jones Riga Stock Exchange fell 2.09 percent to 165.92 points and the RICI price index dropped 0.26 percent to 211.73 points.

All Latvian stocks traded on the Riga Stock Exchange Official List and the Baltic List posted losses over the week, pulling down the price index of Latvian Baltic List's stocks, calculated in euros, by 2.03 percent over the week to 184.49 points.

The trading activity on the bourse was low with just 75,000 lats' (127,000 euros') worth of trade over the week. Baltic List stocks contributed 38,000 lats in turnover, or half the trade.

Shares in the oil terminal Ventspils Nafta last week dove 6.15 percent to 0.61 lats on trade of just 1,639 lats.

The news that Russian oil giant Yukos had signed a letter of intent to take control of Lithuania's oil complex Mazeikiu Nafta as well as speculations that Yukos rival LUKoil could withdraw from the Baltic states markets altogether does not bode well for Ventspils Nafta.

Shares in the Latvian Shipping Company fell 3.23 percent over the week to close at 0.3 lats per share on 11,000 lats in turnover.

Withdrawal of the U.S.-based energy firm Williams International from the Lithuanian oil concern Mazeikiu Nafta boosted Mazeikiu's share price on the Lithuanian bourse. Opinions still vary, however, on whether the spike will last.

The bourse's benchmark price index Litin-10 moved 2.03 percent higher to 1259.27 points. The blue chip index Litin fell 2.18 percent to 300.44 points, while the broad index Litin-G edged up 1.07 percent to 953.02 points.

Blue chip share Lietuvos Telekomas and insurer Lietuvos Draudimas sunk to record lows and the Lithuanian Securities Exchange Commission launched a probe into insider trading allegations surrounding Lietuvos Draudimas shares.

Calculated in euros, the price index of six Lithuanian Baltic List shares fell by 0.37 percent to 157.03 points over the week.

The week's equity turnover reached 1.7 million litas (490,000 euros). Baltic List securities generated 283,000 litas, 16 percent of the total.

Investors rushed to buy Mazeikiu Nafta shares soon after the market opened Aug. 20 after news broke that Williams International and Russia's Yukos signed a letter of intent on the sale of Williams' stake in Mazeikiu Nafta.

The share shot up 7 percent in less than an hour to 0.61 litas before trading was suspended. Trade resumed the following day and Mazeikiu Nafta finished the week 35.09 percent higher at 0.77 litas.

Under the deal with Williams, Yukos will own 53.7 percent of Mazeikiu Nafta's shares and must offer a minority buyout under a special Lithuanian law governing the Baltic states' only refinery.