Baltic List capitalization dips but block deals push turnover up

  • 2002-09-05
  • Boris Epsteins
The capitalization of the blue chip Baltic List stocks fell significantly last week following weak performances by Lithuanian and Estonian telecoms and Estonia's Hansapank banking group.

But thanks to substantial gains reported by some Baltic List stocks with lower liquidity, the overall index edged up a tad to 160.81 points.

Four Baltic List stocks finished the week ahead, eight posted a drop in share price and two remained unchanged.

Falling markets in the United States and Europe caused Eesti Telekom, Lietuvos Telekomas and Hansapank shares to slide, prompting the Baltic List capitalization in euros to fall 1.8 percent to 2.73 billion euros.

Large block deals with the Latvian gas utility Latvijas Gaze's shares resulted in an eight-fold capitalization increase compared with the previous week, finishing at 19.3 million euros.

About 90 percent of weekly turnover came from deals with Latvian Baltic List stocks, 11.5 percent from Estonian stocks and 1 percent from Lithuanian shares.

Thanks to the block deals with Latvijas Gaze shares, Baltic List stocks accounted for 88 percent of the turnover on Riga's bourse. Estonia's Baltic List stocks drew 66 percent of turnover in Tallinn, while list stocks accounted for 33 percent of turnover in Vilnius.

While few trends emerged on the Tallinn bourse last week, there was more interest in brewer Saku Olletehas than usual.

The TALSE stock index fell 2.33 percent to 171.74 points over the week due to losses posted by market movers Hansapank and Eesti Telekom.

But gains by cheaper shares like Merko Ehitus, Tallinna Kaubamaja and Norma pushed up the index of Estonian Baltic List shares, which ended the week 0.74 percent higher than the previous week at 151.93 points.

The Tallinn Stock Exchange's total turnover for 327 deals was 43.4 million kroons (2.77 million euros). Deals with Hansapank accounted for 56 percent of the total.

Shares in Eesti Telekom fell 5.12 percent over the week to 69.63 kroons or 4.45 euros on a turnover of 2.78 million kroons. Shares in car safety equipment maker Norma gained 0.45 percent to 69.16 kroons on trade of 5.40 million kroons.

"Western markets provided no support to Hansapank shares either," said Suprema trader Riho Talumaa. "Some profit was taken here, and the price moved down."

Shares in Hansapank, which made a leap of nearly 7 percent last week, ended 1.15 percent down at 201.06 kroons on a turnover of 24.4 million kroons.

Shares in brewer Saku Olletehas closed flat at 62.59 kroons on a turnover of 5.66 million kroons, the highest figure since the beginning of April.

The Riga bourse finished the week with no price changes on the official list. Only a few large outside deals made the week look active.

Indexes moved only slightly in the week. The Dow Jones Riga Stock Exchange capitalization index in lats gained only 0.02 percent to 165.95 points and the RICI price index slipped 0.28 percent to 211.14 points.

Thanks to a small euro exchange-rate gain, the Latvian Baltic List index in euros fell 0.67 points last week to 183.25 points.

Latvijas Gaze block trades inflated aggregate turnover on the bourse to 11.3 million lats (19.1 million euros).

Other deals, including 63 percent of fish processor Kaija changing hands for 1.26 million lats, also pushed up turnover.

Latvijas Krajbanka sold the company's controlling stake to three companies registered offshore, prompting a 14.7 drop in share price and some ruffled feathers on the exchange. A few days before the sale, Latvijas Krajbanka's officials reassured investors wary of a 10 percent drop in Kaija's share price the previous week.

Trade was lively early last week on the Vilnius bourse, but faded as the week drew to a close.

Refrigerator maker Snaige hit a record high, while blue chip share Lietuvos Telekomas sunk to a record low.

The bourse's benchmark price index Litin-10 fell 0.07 percent to 1258.39 points. The blue chip index Litin fell 0.64 percent to 298.52 points, its lowest level since last September.

Lithuania's index of six Baltic List shares ended the week flat at 157 points.

The week's turnover reached 2.03 million litas (580,000 euros). Baltic List securities generated 656,000 litas, 33 percent of the total.

Telekomas closed the week with a turnover of 317,500 litas. On Aug. 28 the stock fell to 1.02 litas, a record low, before moving up slightly to finish the week at 1.03 litas.

Market observers say that Telekomas' woes are likely not over yet. A lack of interest from foreign investors and little demand elsewhere could push the share price down to its nominal value of 1 litas per share in the near future.

Refrigerator manufacturer Snaige rose 2.96 percent to 70.01 litas on a turnover of 15,500 litas.

Electronics maker Vilniaus Vingis rose 0.49 percent to 6.10 litas on a turnover of 107,600 litas. Another 132,700 litas' worth of shares in Vilniaus Vingis changed hands via block deals.