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BUX down on 2015 tax plans

Telco

The Budapest Stock Exchange's main BUX index finished down 0.97% at 17,129.75 Monday, after falling 1.12% last Wednesday, the last trading day before a national holiday recess. It is down 7.73% from the end of last year, after it rose 2.15% in 2013.

After better than expected results of European banks' health checks, and a JP Morgan upgrade of a regional peer, Erste, Hungary's OTP performed relatively well in a market otherwise subdued by Europe-wide risk avoidance and frustrating local outlook.

OTP itself took part in the European Central Bank's (ECB) stress test on a voluntary basis and got a clear check. However, the planned special internet tax, to be paid on up- and download volumes, still pressured Magyar Telekom after a rare public uproar, complete with a mass demonstration in Budapest on Sunday, vented anger at the government's new tax idea.

The government also plans a host of other new or higher special taxes on everyday staples from soaps and deodorants to detergents to stationary goods, and to credit card purchases, which are likely to further hurt household consumption and economic growth in Hungary where more than 30% of the less than 10m population live on income short of the official subsistence minimum, including about 1m people who are fully employed, analysts say.

Retail trade growth in annual comparison has continuously slowed since last April, according to official, unadjusted figures. The government is to submit next year's budget to parliament on Tuesday.

MOL also felt the impact of the ongoing dispute with the Croatian government over its Croatian peer and subsidiary INA, with repeated rumors in the Croatian press that the Croatian government would buy MOL out of INA. This was neither denied, nor confirmed in a Croatian government statement on Monday, which said "all options were open" while MOL was "trying to disrupt the country's energy stability and INA's development."

OTP won 0.10% to HUF 4,034 on turnover of HUF 1.88 bln from a HUF 4.85 bln session total, less than two-thirds of the daily average this year. MOL slid 0.64% to HUF 11,640 on turnover of HUF 350 mln. Magyar Telekom dropped 1.20% to HUF 330, a near five-month low, on turnover of HUF 412 mln. Richter retreated 2.74% to HUF 3,689 on turnover of HUF 1.76 bln. The bourse's mid-cap BUMIX went out 0.19% lower at 1,455.65.

Elsewhere in the region, Warsaw's WIG20 was up 0.47%, while Prague's PX rose 1.55%. Western Europe's major indices were all down ahead of their close Monday, FTSE-100 in London 0.32%, DAX30 in Frankfurt 0.80 %, and CAC40 in Paris 0.67%.

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