Although most Czech blue chips were up last week (investors seem to believe that war in Iraq is not imminent, which is stock-positive news), the PX-50 and PX-D indices were largely stagnant and closed Friday at 477 and 1,212 points, respectively, as the title with the heaviest weighting in the indices lost value on the week: Erste Bank was down 5.6% to CZK 1,957 on aggressive selling and considerable volume. Komercni banka that was the most actively traded stock last week (USD 37 mil.), though volume in the stock stood 34% below the stock’s 12M average last week; the stock price was stagnant at CZK 2,090. The gainers of the week were telecommunication stocks: Cesky Telecom (CTel) and Ceske radikomunikace rose by 4.3% and 5.4%, respectively, to close Friday at CZK 294 and CZK 206. Both stocks showed a significant increase in trading activity last week (volume in CTel stood 41% above its 12M average due to the strong demand from foreign institutional investors). Also, both industrial stocks, Unipetrol and CEZ, strengthened, up by 3.0% and 0.6%, respectively, though CEZ on Friday lost some of its gains after a Czech newspaper reported that the Anti-Monopoly Office disputes the price CEZ is to pay for the government-proposed acquisition of stakes in regional power distributors. Trading volume on the PSE was USD 111.5 mil., 12% below the 12M average.
This week, Unipetrol and Ceska sporitelna (Erste Bank’s 95%-owned subsidiary) are scheduled to release their preliminary 2002 CAS results on Thursday. The Cabinet is scheduled to discuss the future of the state-majority-owned Cesky Telecom at a regular meeting today. On Friday, the Finance Ministry should comment on the valuations of the stakes in eight electricity distributors to be acquired by CEZ.