BUX up on Ukraine hopes


The Budapest Stock Exchange's main BUX index finished up 2.08% at 18,113.16 Thursday, a near five-month high, after losing 1.10% Wednesday. It is up 8.89% from year-end, after losing 10.40% last year.

Hopes that a new cease-fire agreement in Ukraine will stick this time round, and a new USD 40 bln IMF life-belt would keep Ukraine's economy from submersion, boosted the Budapest parquet, in line with the European trend.

Seriously exposed to Russian and Ukrainian markets, Richter became the winner of the day despite its bleak revenue forecast published on Monday, while it got its first fair value raise, to HUF 3,230 -- still under the current price, though -- from HUF 3,100, from fund managers Jefferies after a series of downgrades from other houses.

While geopolitical worries eased, investors could also refocus on OTP in the wake of a tripartite agreement signed on Monday by Hungary's government, Austrian financial group Erste Bank and international lender EBRD which involves a gradual reduction of the special banking tax from next year.

The agreement is credit positive for Hungary, Moody's said in a commentary on Thursday.

MOL improved also on a Euromoney interview with its chairman-CEO, who said MOL was to perform its projects according to its growth plan despite falling oil prices and the current market conditions, suggesting to investors that MOL’s cash flow remains strong.

Good news from the outside blotted out unsettling but not unexpected local ones, including fresh data that showed Hungary's industrial production growth slowed on the year in December workday-adjusted, construction output fell for the first time in about two years, and a poll by Dow Jones Newswires among ten commercial bank economists showing

Hungary's economic growth likely slowed in the fourth quarter to 2.7% on the year from 3.2% in the third quarter of last year. GDP data are due on Friday.

OTP gained 3.01% to HUF 4,411, a near five-month high, on turnover of HUF 12.73 bln from a HUF 15.18 bln session total, three quarters above the daily average this year.

MOL rose 1.06% to 11,900 on turnover of HUF 782 mln.

Magyar Telekom ended flat at HUF 372 on turnover of HUF 180 mln.

Richter advanced 3.40% to HUF 3,805, a six-day high, on turnover of HUF 1.31 bln.

The bourse's mid-cap BUMIX went out 0.75% higher at 1,490.95.

Elsewhere in the region, the WIG 20 in Warsaw was up 0.64%, while Prague's PX soared 2.30%. Western Europe's major indices were all up ahead of their close Thursday, FTSE-100 in London 0.21%, DAX30 in Frankfurt 1.65%, and CAC40 in Paris 1.12%.

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