Hungarian stocks led increases in central Europe, rebounding from their biggest drop this year. Mol Nyrt. advanced after Merrill Lynch & Co. said it remains optimistic about the company’s performance this year. Elsewhere in the region, OMV AG paced advances.
Hungary’s BUX Index had the biggest fluctuation of equity benchmarks tracked by agencies, adding 1.8 % to 23,918.02 as of 1:25 pm in Budapest, rebounding from yesterday’s 1.9 % slump. The NTX Index of 30 companies in the region advanced 0.5 %, to 1816.35. The gauge is down 1.1% this week.
Poland’s WIG20 Index rose 0.4%, the Czech PX Index slipped 0.1% and Austria’s ATX Index added 2.45, or less than 0.1%, to 4549.89.“Whilst we expect Mol to disclose a weak quarter, we nonetheless remain positive on the shares going in to 2007, and would recommend investors to buy on any weakness,” Hootan Yazhari, an analyst at Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. in London, wrote in a note.
Mol Nyrt. advanced 2.5% to 20,500 forint. Hungary’s largest oil refiner will probably say Feb. 12 fourth-quarter profit declined 24 % to 41.6 billion forint ($213 million), because of falling crude oil prices in the period, according to the median estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. The stock still lost 0.2 % this week.
Crude prices rose above $60 a barrel for the first time in five weeks, extending their gain since hitting a year low on 18 Januaryto 21 %. Oil for March delivery dropped 14 cents to $59.57 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 11:59 am London time. The contract had advanced as much as 71 cents, or 1.2%, earlier to $60.42.
CEZ rose 0.8% to 935 koruna as CTK news agency reported the growth rate in demand for electricity surpassed that of supply.Consumption of electricity in the country increased 2.9 % in 2006 from a year ago, the agency said, citing information from the Energy Regulatory Office. Net electricity production grew 2.1 % over the same period.
Shares in Grupa Kety SA fell 1.9 % to 188.3 zloty after the Warsaw bourse said Poland’s top aluminum products maker will drop out of the benchmark WIG20 index from 19 March . Cersanit Krasnystaw SA, the country’s leading bathroom fittings producer, will replace Kety in the index. Cersanit shares jumped 4.8 % to 43 zloty.
Zaklady Chemiczne Police SA plunged 5.5 % to 6.69 zloty, its lowest level in more than four weeks. The Polish chemicals producer said today it was setting aside 234 million zloty ($78 million) from its 2006 earnings after lowering the estimated value of its assets.
Egis Nyrt. declined 1.9% to 23,310 forint. Citigroup Inc.’s analyst Robert Bonte-Friedheim in London cut his estimate for the price of Hungary’s second-largest drugmaker’s shares 13 percent to 20,000 forint, citing the outlook for declining sales in Hungary and Russia. The company reported yesterday an 80 percent slump in its net income for the fiscal first-quarter.Orco Property Group SA lost 1.4 % to 3335 koruna, extending yesterday’s 4.7 % drop. The real-estate developer mainly operating in eastern Europe said it plans to raise about 100 million euros ($130 million) by selling new shares.