BUX steps on the brake

Telco

The Budapest Stock Exchange's main BUX index finished up 0.54% at 18,785.40, a new near nine-month high, Thursday after surging 1.65% Wednesday. It is up 12.93% from year-end, after losing 10.40% last year. Amid volatile global mood, the Budapest parquet stepped on the brake but still reached a new high.

The main driver was again OTP, this time slowing the BUX down in profit-taking, after the bank share gained 13% to a more than nine-month high in the previous three days on analysts upgrades since it has published better-than-expected Q4 results last Friday.

Other leading shares gained as the Russian rouble's improvement against the Hungarian currency supported Richter, and MOL rose on Magyar Telekom's Wednesday tie-up with MET Holding to provide energy services to corporate customers, based on a strategic agreement Magyar Telekom signed with MOL, a big stakeholder in MET Group, in 2013.

Local news included mixed industrial statistics on sharply slowing growth year-on-year in January compared to both December and last year's average in unadjusted terms, while workday-adjusted annual growth accelerated.

Concern for the central budget increased after the European Union ordered Hungary on Thursday to stop applying a special advertising tax, pending the results of an investigation into whether the levy illegally disadvantages big media companies. Analysts recall that pressure from Brussels to shepherd Hungary under the less than 3% to GDP public deficit threshold often has resulted in tax increases or new taxes levied, including the ad tax introduced last year.

OTP lost 0.53% to HUF 4,710 on turnover of HUF 10.69 bln from a HUF 13.45 bln session total, almost two-thirds above the daily average this year.

MOL improved 1.90% to HUF 12,080 on turnover of HUF 977 mln.

Magyar Telekom ended flat at HUF 391 on turnover of HUF 365 mln.

Richter advanced 1.05% to HUF 3,860 on turnover of HUF 1.37 bln.

The bourse's mid-cap BUMIX went out 0.38% lower at 1,510.48.

Elsewhere in the region, the WIG 20 in Warsaw was up 0.08%, while Prague's PX increased 0.72%.

Western Europe's major indices were mixed ahead of their close Thursday, FTSE-100 in London up 0.76%, DAX30 in Frankfurt down 0.15%, and CAC40 in Paris down 0.24%.

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