Boredom back in markets

  • 2003-02-27
  • Thomas Foulquier

A lack of noticeable news dragged the Baltic stock markets into the doldrums last week, as analysts labeled the market as "inactive." Even the usually active Tallinn Stock Exchange saw its lowest trade figures for the past three weeks.

The Baltic Index was down 1.5 percent to 177.9 over the week on turnover of 2.7 million euros.

In Tallinn, Hansapank, the Baltic states' most capitalized stock, closed 1.5 percent lower at 15.75 euros, while Eesti Telekom came under selling pressure from the West. The stock closed the week ending Feb. 21 at 5.39 euros.

Trading activity in Riga was low, and the cumulative weekly equity market turnover reached 9.4 million lats.

Janis Neimanis, head of the real estate loan and investment department at Baltic Transit Bank, described the Latvian market as "rather quiet, as it has been for the past six months."

He did, however, notice the increased activity on LASCO's stock, which was up 4 percent last week. "This is due to the current high level of oil prices and ship prices on the world market, the two factors affecting the stock positively," he said.

Ventspils Nafta, the troubled oil terminal, dived 4.29 percent to 1.06 euros over the week. Commenting on the situation, Neimanis said that the government of Latvia, if presently unwilling to sell its stake in Ventspils Nafta, will be tempted to wait until the country joins the European Union.

In that case "investors would be buying a European company, so of course the state would get a better price for its stake," said Neimanis.

He also added that VN has not paid dividends for three years now, so investors see little perspective for the stock in the mid-term.

The week's gainers were Ditton PKR on RSE's second list, which surged 16.67 percent in a week, while among the losers were shares of Rota, which dropped 15 percent.

Vilnius also underwent a quiet, pre-inaugural week. Lietuvos Telekomas' disappointing net profit of 19.4 million euros for 2002 did not have any major effect on the market, and the company's stock ended the week only 1.14 percent lower.