BUX firms for a second day
The Budapest Stock Exchange's main BUX index finished up 0.41% at 17,897.11 Thursday after rising 0.09% Wednesday. It is up 7.59% from year-end, after losing 10.40% last year.
News that the ECB turns sovereign bond purchases from pledge into reality next Monday supported the Budapest parquet, too, along with most European bourses, but gains remained limited on fresh data showing Hungary's trade surplus fell last year because of exports growing slower than imports, and on uncertainty around the Hungarian National Bank's (MNB) policy rate intentions.
Hungary may cut its policy rate deeper than expected now that the Polish central bank has cut its main rate more than anticipated, Raiffeisen said in a note on Thursday. Raiffeisen forecasts MNB will cut its main rate by 30bps on March 24 to a record low 1.8% from the current 2.1%.
But Citigroup said that growing evidence of Hungary's consumption recovery and anticipated pressure on emerging-market currencies to come from the expected US interest rate increase may limit the Hungarian central bank's elbow room to cut rates to a cumulative 50 bps or even less within three to five months including the expected first cut on March 24.
Commerzbank also highlighted in a note on Thursday Hungary's robust consumption recovery which is set to see strong momentum throughout the first half of this year, but added that the fixed-investment boom in capital-intensive sectors such as the car industry should begin to cool off this year and act as a mild drag on growth.
Strongly exposed to Russian markets, Richter was back in favour on the Russian rouble's accelerating gains versus the Hungarian forint in the last couple of days.
Investors took some profits from OTP's Wednesday rise ahead of results early Friday which are expected to show a Q4 loss.
OTP lost 0.50% to HUF 4,179 on turnover of HUF 2.53 bln from a HUF 5.49 bln session total, two-thirds of the daily average this year.
MOL gained 0.17% to HUF 11,820 on turnover of HUF 1.05 bln.
Magyar Telekom rose 1.02% to HUF 396 on turnover of HUF 100 mln.
Richter advanced 1.51% to HUF 3,770 on turnover of HUF 1.66 bln.
The bourse's mid-cap BUMIX went out 0.22% higher at 1,506.44.
Elsewhere in the region, the WIG 20 in Warsaw was up 0.85%, while Prague's PX increased 1.49%.
Western Europe's major indices were all up ahead of their close Thursday, FTSE-100 in London 0.62%, DAX30 in Frankfurt 0.96%, and CAC40 in Paris 0.89%.
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