BUX welcomes ECB easing


The Budapest Stock Exchange's main BUX index finished up 2.35% at 16,776.87 Thursday after gaining 0.78% Wednesday. It is up 0.86% from year-end, after losing 10.40% last year. The Budapest parquet recovered for a fifth day from last week's multi-year lows as news that the ECB will conduct a monthly €60 bln expanded asset purchase programme from March to at least September next year stimulated CEE markets more than euro area bourses.

After pairing gains in the last hour as calculations showed the size and scope of the ECB program was smaller than expected, the BUX finally closed at the day's high.

Data out on Thursday on cashflow-based general government deficit for 2014 confirmed the deficit as a percentage of GDP, calculated according to European Union rules, could have been smaller than the 2.9% target.

Investors also welcomed signs of some backtracking by Hungary's government on latest measures which raised costs to motorists and shipping companies alike. New tolls on some roads introduced from January 1 will be withdrawn, and the penalty-free test period for the new real-time transport tracking system to combat tax fraud will be extended until March 1. The new tracking system was criticized by the German trade chamber which said on Thursday that "the system (EKAER) has a disproportionately large, damaging effect on the Hungarian economy, and Hungary is experiencing a tangible loss in competitiveness as a manufacturing and logistics base compared to other regional countries."

Richter announced on Thursday positive top-line results from a final stage (Phase IIIb) clinical trial of cariprazine to treat schizophrenia in adults. On Tuesday, Richter also announced positive results of a

Phase III trial using cariprazine to prevent relapse in schizophrenia patients.

OTP won 2.20% to HUF 3,815 on turnover of HUF 3.65 bln from a HUF 6.69 bln session total, 15% short of the daily average last year.

MOL gained 1.50% to HUF 11,190 on turnover of HUF 780 mln.

Magyar Telekom ended flat at HUF 342 on turnover of HUF 162 mln.

Richter advanced 5.08% to HUF 3,785 on turnover of HUF 1.88 bln.

The bourse's mid-cap BUMIX went out 0.18% higher at 1,424.31.

Elsewhere in the region, the WIG 20 in Warsaw was up 1.37%, while Prague's PX rose 0.89%. Western Europe's major indices were all up ahead of their close Thursday, FTSE-100 in London 0.95%, DAX30 in Frankfurt 1.27%, and CAC40 in Paris 1.55%.

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