BUX down in low-volume trade


The Budapest Stock Exchange's main BUX index finished down 0.38% at 18,011.54 Friday after a 0.01% dip Thursday. It is up 8.28% from year-end, after losing 10.40% last year.

Ongoing worries for Greece and fighting in Ukraine kept the Budapest parquet under lid while European peers also limped waiting for the results of an emergency meeting of eurozone finance ministers on Greece's debt future.

December statistics out Friday on an annual 6.7% leap in average monthly earnings -- 4.5% without bonuses -- in Hungary left the market unmoved as the growth should be compared to a low base in the previous year, while annual employment growth flattened deep under the annual average.

Meanwhile, another collision course with the EU is emerging as the Hungarian government asserts its eagerness to work with Russia on energy issues as confirmed by the prime minister during a visit to Warsaw on Thursday after he had received the Russian president in Budapest earlier in the week, analysts add.

This comes at a time when investors' views on Hungary are, in general, improving, not least because of a confirmation on Friday by the state secretary of the National Economy Ministry that he wanted to push legislation through parliament on cutting the controversial special bank tax from next year by the April general assembly of the IMF and the World Bank.

Hungary is no longer among the weakest links among European emerging markets, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a note on Friday. Hungary's vulnerability has shrunk markedly because of its large and steadily rising current account surplus. Households' foreign-currency debt problem is largely solved, its financing is coming more from domestic sources, and its economic growth is solid, BofAML said. "The impressive turnaround in macroeconomic imbalances means Hungary is much better positioned to weather spillover risks from 'Grexit' compared to 2012," it added. This allows the central bank more room to cut interest rates though it has also been using tools other than policy rates to deliver stimulus to the economy, BoFAML concluded.

OTP lost 0.35% to HUF 4,285 on turnover of HUF 3.41 bln from a HUF 5.23 bln session total, less than two-thirds of the daily average this year.

MOL fell 0.30% to HUF 11,725 on turnover of HUF 436 mln.

Magyar Telekom sank 1.58% to HUF 374 on turnover of HUF 251 mln.

Richter ended flat at HUF 3,900 on turnover of HUF 542 mln.

The bourse's mid-cap BUMIX went out 0.22% higher at 1,518.07.

Over the week, the BUX dropped 0.40% after soaring 4.29% in the previous week.

OTP was down 1.95% after skyrocketing 11.48% last week.

MOL eased 1.47% after rising 1.45% the previous week.

Magyar Telekom garnered 0.54% after gathering 2.20% last week.

Richter improved 2.04% after losing 0.08% over the previous week.

The BUMIX rose 1.26% after a gain of 2.16% last week.

Elsewhere in the region, the WIG 20 in Warsaw was down 0.02%, while Prague's PX grew 0.84%. Western Europe's major indices were mixed ahead of their close Friday, FTSE-100 in London up 0.26%, DAX30 in Frankfurt up 0.21%, and CAC40 in Paris down 0.35%.

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