While most Slovak blue chips were quite inert on the Bratislava Stock Exchange (BSE) on December 8, massive gains in the share price of oil refiner Slovnaft pushed the entire SAX index up 3.22 points to close at 175.61.
Slovnaft gained 6.7 percent on its average price, closing 49 crowns up at 1,001, just above its nominal share value of 1,000 Sk.
Trading only 691 shares on the BSE floor, Slovnaft dominated direct trading, as more than 500,000 shares changed hands in several tranches at prices ranging from 910 to 1,196 crowns. Due to the Slovnaft madness, the overall BSE volume soared to 1,584,168 shares, a huge jump from the 455,610 shares traded on December 5, while turnover boomed to 1.397 billion crowns from 308.41 million on December 5.
"What we are seeing is probably the birth process of a new strategic owner in Slovnaft," said Marián Herman of J&T Securities. "The big Slovak institutional investor who bought these stakes from abroad currently holds some seven percent of Slovnaft and is on the way to reaching at least 10 [percent]," he added, without elaborating further. However, a well-informed Spectator source who preferred to remain anonymous hinted that the mysterious hunter of Slovnaft shares was most likely Slovenská sporiteľňa, the biggest Slovak insurance company.
Herman said he expected Slovnaft's price to hover around its nominal 1,000 crowns or just slightly higher. But the market made a false prophet of him two days later, when the Slovnaft share price suffered extensive losses as only one share was traded on the BSE floor and Slovnaft closed down 127 crowns at 902.
The stake's average price decreased by 12.3 percent, pushing the SAX index in the opposite direction than that of two days before. The bourse's overall volume eased to 914,718 shares and turnover slumped to 604.96 million crowns.
18. Dec 1997 at 0:00 | Reuters