Baltic stock markets without clear trend, further decline possible

  • 2002-10-10
  • Boris Epsteins
Most stock indexes on the Baltic bourses dropped between 1 percent and 2 percent last week, not a terrible result given the falls on U.S. and European markets, some of which dipped to the lowest level in five to six years.

The unchallenged market leader was again Estonia's Hansapank, which posted gains last week.

Losses by some of Lithuania's technology stocks and all of Latvia's blue chips pulled down the Baltic Index of 15 blue chip stocks 0.42 percent to 161.37 points.

No major surprises are expected on the Baltic bourses this week.

In Estonia stock market indicators experts analysts are forecasting falls despite Hansapank's encouraging results last week.

Analysts in Latvia said an evaluation of Saturday's parliamentary election will likely weigh on investors minds more in the short term than third-quarter results.

The Tallinn bourse last week quietly posted its largest turnover in a month thanks mostly to gains by Hansapank.

The TALSE index edged up 0.05 percent to 173.10 points during the week. Turnover totaled 50.4 million kroons (3.2 million euros) on 245 deals.

Shares in Hansapank climbed 1.90 percent to 201.69 kroons on a turnover of approximately 35 million kroons.

Trading activity on the Riga stock exchange was quiet as investors waited for companies to release their third-quarter financial indicators.

The RICI index was off by 1.48 percent over the week to 199.39 points, sliding below the 200-point level for the first time since April. The capitalization index DJRSE lost 1.28 percent over the week to 162.82 points.

The oil terminal Ventspils Nafta continued to fall last week amid further reports of slumping cargo loading figures. It closed the week at 0.58 lats per share, 1.69 percent down compared with the previous week.

The Latvian Shipping Company fell 3.33 percent and closed the week at 0.29 lats per share.

Analysts said the fall was related to reports that the Latvian Shipping Company had reached a settlement in a legal battle with Poland's Gdansk shipyard.

LASCO ordered six refrigerator tankers from Gdansk shipbuilders in 1992 and later canceled the order, prompting the shipbuilders to file a lawsuit.

LASCO settled the protracted court battle for an undisclosed sum. The company had built up reserves for the settlement and investors speculated that the payout would hurt profits.

Stock prices on the Lithuanian exchange were sporadic over the week.

A fire at the television-tube plant Ekranas effected the market.

The bourse's benchmark price index Litin-10 edged down 0.40 percent to 1285.55 points, the blue chip index Litin rose 0.39 percent to 271.69 points.

Ekranas closed the week 2.64 percent lower at 6.27 litas on 274,300 litas in turnover. The stock dropped as low as 5.64 litas during the week..

The volatile trading reflected investors' nervousness concerning the fire's effect on the company.