BUX steps back a little in European gloom


The Budapest Stock Exchange's main BUX index finished down 0.02% at 17,747.90 Monday, after rising 2.03% Friday. It is down 4.40% from the end of last year, after it rose 2.15% in 2013. Last week, the BUX gained 2.32% after falling 0.54% the previous week.

Cautious step-backs into the red for most of the day, with BUX down 0.77% at its intraday low, uptick at the end of trade on buying back bargain blue-chips: that was the Monday's schedule in the Budapest parquet, after four days of rises, while most European markets fell amid dismal global data and uncertainty around ECB's intentions for a quantitative easing.

 ECB uncertainty also resulted in mixed views on the future rate path of the National Bank of Hungary (MNB).

Caution was also warranted by a speech in parliament of Hungary's foreign minister, who said Hungary needs a new, pragmatic foreign policy with equal focus on transatlantic and eastern relations. He said it was "bad news" that the South Stream gas pipeline would, after all, not be built.

Meanwhile, Commerzbank played down a surprise sharp slowing of industrial production growth in Hungary in October, saying it was mostly a result of production shutdowns at car makers. Although the headline reading hurt the forint which weakened steeply versus the euro, the PMI and other forward-looking indicators do not show similar warning signs. Therefore this is not a trend and only indicates gradually moderating growth through 2015, Commerzbank said in a note on Monday.

Earlier in the day, OTP Bank and MOL fared better than the pack, OTP on rumors it planned to buy a bank in Poland, although analysts pointed out the extreme rigor of the Polish authorities in scrutinising acquisitions by foreign banks, and MOL on the weekend telephone conversation of the Hungarian prime minister and the Serbian president with the Russian president on post-South Stream cooperation, although no details emerged.

OTP ended flat at HUF 4,080 on turnover of HUF 1.41 bln from a HUF 2.74 bln session total, less than one-third of the daily average this year.  MOL ended flat at HUF 12,180 on turnover of HUF 493 mln. Magyar Telekom ended flat at HUF 354 on turnover of HUF 104 mln. Richter advanced 0.13% to HUF 3,875 on turnover of HUF 664 mln. The bourse's mid-cap BUMIX went out 0.96% lower at 1,461.22.

Elsewhere in the region, Warsaw's WIG20 was down 0.27%, while Prague's PX gathered 0.18%. Western Europe's major indices were all down ahead of their close Monday, FTSE-100 in London 0.73%, DAX30 in Frankfurt 0.52%, and CAC40 in Paris 0.78%.

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