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Budapest shares close up in thin trade ahead of US rate decision UPDATE

Budapest shares close up in thin trade ahead of US rate decision UPDATE

BUDAPEST (Thomson Financial) – Budapest shares closed up in line with major European markets after yesterday’s bout of profit taking, but with trade thin ahead of this afternoon’s interest rate decision in the US, and gains limited after US markets opened down, dealers said.

The BUX index of leading Hungarian shares closed up 0.67 pct at 25,842.87. Trading volume was around two thirds of the daily average.

The Hungarian forint was down as the euro rose 0.30 pct to 246.99 forints and the US dollar ticked up 0.10 pct to 182.30 forints.

Magyar Telekom, due to report a decline in first quarter profit tomorrow, finished up 0.87 pct at 1,045 forints, after falling over 2 pct yesterday.

The two pharmaceutical stocks, Richter and Egis, recovered some ground lost yesterday after the companies posted first quarter results below market expectation.

Richter was up 0.77 pct to 37,145 forints, while Egis was up 0.87 pct to 19,790 forints after falling nearly 7 pct yesterday.

Banks were broadly positive, with OTP up 0.52 pct at 9,777 forints after yesterday’s losses, and state-controlled mortgage bank FHB gaining 1.79 pct to 2,275 forints.

FHB is expected to post a decline in first quarter profits on Friday as its key mortgage business is hit by increased competition in the Hungarian mortgage market.

However, the bank’s stock is being supported by the government’s intention to sell its controlling stake, which is expected to happen later this year.

Oil stock MOL finished the day up but eased off an intra-day peak after a key US report showed motor fuel stocks increased.

MOL has also been associated with a 150 mln usd purchase of Croatia’s Tifon, the third largest petrol station operator in the country.

MOL stock closed up 0.78 pct at 22,575 forints.

edward.krudy@thomson.com

ek1/cml

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