BUX up for a second day


The Budapest Stock Exchange's main BUX index finished up 1.55% at 16,441.68 Thursday, after rising 0.11% Wednesday. It id down 1.16% from year-end, after losing 10.40% last year. Still underperforming, the Budapest parquet improved for a second day along with global markets extending gains after oil prices steadied and the Federal Reserve reassured investors it was in no hurry to start raising interest rates.

Locally, energy prices for businesses could fall by as much as close to 10% with the establishment of a state utilities company planned for this year, the governing Fidesz's MP in charge of utilities price cuts said on Thursday. Since 2013, the government has ordered several utility price cuts in the household sector only.

It was not immediately clear whether the cut should be understood over and above the present, falling, market price trend due to lower service costs, or lagging it.

Stabilisation in the oil market still helped MOL.

But the day's data augured more risks ahead.

Hungary's industrial output is set to slow in 2015 even as November's data out on Thursday surprised on the upside, said Erste Bank. Car manufacturers, which provide about one-fourth of overall output, had almost fully utilized their capacity by year-end. November output rose 5.8% on the year versus Erste's forecast for a 2% increase and 1.7% in October. Still, growth has decelerated already in the second half of last year to 5.5% from the first-half average of 9.4%.

MKB bank expects Hungary's industrial output to increase by only around 5% on the year in the coming quarters after all segments of manufacturing except for car making were stagnating or declining in November. In Hungary's largest export destination, Germany, data still point to sluggish growth ahead. MKB forecasts Hungary's output growth at 7.4% on average last year, slowing to between 3% and 3.5% this year.

Also in November, retail trade growth stagnated in Hungary with fuel consumption accelerating but growth in all other product classes slowing on an annual basis from October, Thursday's figures showed.

Meanwhile, expectations are mixed whether the National Bank of Hungary (NBH) can or can not help with further easing this year.

After lagging the market for several days, OTP also rose as a final court rejection on Thursday of its case against the state on refund obligations to clients, weighing on all financial institutions following legislation last year, came as no surprise and was priced in with large falls earlier in the week.

OTP won 3.19% to HUF 3,725 after losing 5.27% over the previous three days, on turnover of HUF 3.50 bln from a HUF 6.51 bln session total, almost a fifth short of the daily average last year.

MOL gained 1.87% to HUF 11,700 on turnover of HUF 742 mln.

Magyar Telekom lost 0.30% to HUF 335 on turnover of HUF 484 mln.

Richter retreated 0.12% to HUF 3,425 on turnover of HUF 1.20 bln.

The bourse's mid-cap BUMIX went out 0.48% higher at 1,435.53.

Elsewhere in the region, the WIG 20 in Warsaw was up 2.28%, while Prague's PX rose 1.43%. Western Europe's major indices were all sharply up ahead of their close Thursday, FTSE-100 in London 2.39%, DAX30 in Frankfurt 3.31%, and CAC40 in Paris 3.59%.

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