Equity knows no bounds

  • 2003-09-04
  • Baltic News Service
RIGA - Baltic stocks continued their head-long rush into record territory last
week, with the Baltic Index jumping another 2.64 percent to end the Aug. 29
session at 292.05 points. Since Dec. 28, 2002, when the index was at 165
points, bluechip equity in the three Baltic states has soared an astonishing
77 percent.
Amazingly, the good times are likely to continue. Analysts at ING, the
Netherlands-based bank, have set their fair price estimate of shares of
Hansabank, the largest financial group in the Baltic states and the markets'
most traded stock, at 22.80 euros, or more than 10 percent its current
Based on Hansabank's second quarter results, ING also readjusted its profit
forecast for the bank and changed its recommendation on the stock from
"hold" to "buy."
Turnover last week was slightly off from levels seen two weeks ago, though
trading on Lithuanian equity has continued to take an increasingly larger
share of overall Baltic trade. Some 2.5 million euros of trade came on
Lithuanian stocks, which made up 41.3 percent of the week's total. Estonian
stocks meanwhile contributed 3.45 million euros, or 56.7 percent of the
total, and Latvian stocks 118,500 euros, or 1.9 percent of the list's total
weekly turnover.
In Tallinn car safety equipment maker Norma climbed the most ­ 8 percent ­
in the outgoing week, while builder Merko Ehitus came to a halt after a
considerable rise over the past three weeks.
"There is demand for Norma stock but not too much offer, and so also the
price rises more," Suprema broker Riho Talumaa said.
Shares in Hansapank, which ended the week with a new high of 312.9 kroons
(20 euros), moved up 1.1 percent over the week. Eesti Telekom closed up 1.1
percent at 112.6 kroons.
"There is generally buying interest in Estonian shares, but more [liquid]
shares are offered, and therefore the price movements are not as drastic as
in the case of less-traded shares," Talumaa said.
Builder Merko Ehitus, which has gained nearly 45 percent over the past three
weeks, showed zero growth during the week and ended at 195.5 kroons.
Talumaa said it was possible there would be no demand for Merko at a higher
In Lithuania, bellwether Lietuvos Telekomas rose 7.2 percent to 1.63 litas
(0.47 euro) on a turnover of 1.9 million litas. The bluechip dairy Rokiskio
Suris climbed 2.2 percent while the refrigerator producer Snaige eased 0.9
On the Current List, the oil terminal Klaipedos Nafta firmed up 1 percent on
a turnover of 812,800 litas, while the oil concern Mazeikiu Nafta rose 6.8
percent with 687,400 litas' worth of stocks changing hands.
Some 6.66 percent of Nord/LB Lietuva Bank were divested for 16.1 million
litas in a single block deal on Aug. 23. The stake was sold by Vilniaus
Bankas, which is controlled by Swedish SEB, to Sweden's East Capital Asset
Management, manager of the East Capital Baltic Fund.
In Latvia, turnover was particularly sluggish, with total turnover on the
Riga Stock Exchange reaching 1.7 million lats (2.7 million euros).
The Ventspils Nafta oil terminal gained 4.3 percent, and Latvijas Kugnieciba
shipping company rose 2.8 percent.