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Hungary leads central Europe stock gains: world's biggest mover

MOL Nyrt and OTP Bank Nyrt, the nation's biggest listed companies, paced the advance. Richter Gedeon Nyrt, which makes copycat versions of brand-name medicines that have lost patent protection, gained on government plans to curb prescriptions of expensive drugs. TVN SA, Poland's No. 2 television broadcaster, rose after it attracted more viewers last month. The BUX Index had the biggest fluctuation of equity benchmarks tracked by Bloomberg worldwide, adding 2.5% to 21,947.96 in Budapest. The index lost 3.5% over the previous four days. The NTX Index of 30 companies in the region rose 1.1% to 1539.83. „The market has fallen a lot in the past days,” said Balázs Szegner, head of equity trading at Equilor Investment Ltd. in Budapest. Companies in the BUX are valued at 10.8 times estimated earnings, less than the 13.4 ratio for the Morgan Stanley Capital International Emerging Market Index, a global benchmark. MOL, Hungary's largest oil company, climbed 3.3% to Ft 19,845, rebounding from an almost fourth-month low. The shares trade at 8.1 times the company's estimated earnings, compared with 11.1 for the MSCI EM Energy Index of 42 oil- related stocks in developing countries.

„Some investors probably don't want to miss an opportunity of buying the stock for cheap, as they expect that the oil prices will rebound,” said Zoltán Váradi, who helps manage $15.7 million at Raiffeisen Asset Management in Budapest. OTP, the biggest bank, rose 2% to Ft 6,760, rebounding from a six-day low. The shares are valued at 9.9 times estimated earnings. Stocks have retreated on speculation Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány will step down after his party suffered losses in municipal elections last weekend, following the country's worst street violence since 1956 and calls for his resignation. The riots were triggered by a tape leaked to media where Gyurcsány admitted he was lying to public about the state of economy before the election in April. Gyurcsány has asked parliament to hold a vote of confidence on October 6. Richter gained 2.6% to Ft 45,140. Hungarian authorities may start fining doctors who prescribe expensive brands when a cheaper generic version is available, Health Minister Lajos Molnár said on state television. Egis Nyrt, Hungary's second-largest drug company after Richter, rose 1.5% to Ft 30,250. In other markets, Poland's WIG20 Index added 0.7%. The Czech PX Index rose 0.5%, and Austria's ATX Index advanced 0.4%. (Bloomberg)