Thursday, November 6, 2008

Romania's Stock Index Soars, Exiting Bear Market; Petrom Jumps

By Pawel Kozlowski and Irina Savu

Nov. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Romanian stocks gained the most in three weeks as higher crude prices boosted oil companies. The benchmark BET Index advanced more than 20 percent from this year's low, technically marking the end of a bear market.

SNP Petrom SA climbed 11 percent and Rompetrol Rafinare SA surged by the daily limit of 15 percent. BRD-Groupe Societe Generale, Romania's second-biggest lender, jumped 8.1 percent as a drop in money-market rates in Europe boosted financial shares.

The BET Index increased 211.57, or 7.1 percent, to 3,177.06 in Bucharest today, posting the seventh-biggest gain among 88 benchmark indexes tracked globally by Bloomberg. Croatia's benchmark soared 7.5 percent to 2,399.31. The NTX Index of 30 stocks in the region climbed 7 percent to 1,068.18.

``Stock prices seem to have hit the bottom after deep losses in October,'' Florin Irimin, a trader at Intercapital Invest SA in Bucharest, said by phone. ``It's just natural we're seeing this rebound at the moment as the overall global sentiment improved.''

Romania's stock index slumped 33 percent in October, posting the biggest monthly drop in 10 years, after Standard & Poor's downgraded the country's foreign-currency debt rating to junk, citing increased government spending ahead of the Nov. 30 parliamentary elections and the current-account deficit. The measure advanced 22 percent from this year's low on Oct. 27. It is still down 68 percent so far this year.

Crude Oil

Petrom, the biggest oil company in Romania and a unit of Austria's OMV AG, surged 11 percent to 0.2 lei, extending its 13 percent advance yesterday. Rompetrol Rafinare, the country's second-largest, soared 15 percent to 0.276 lei. The two stocks account for almost a quarter of the index by weighting.

Crude oil for December delivery climbed as much as $5.86, or 9.2 percent, to $69.77 a barrel.

BRD-Groupe Societe Generale, controlled by France's Societe Generale SA, added 8.1 percent to 8.05 lei.

Transelectrica SA, Romania's state-run power-transmission grid operator, increased 13 percent to 14.2 lei. Impact SA, the country's largest publicly traded homebuilder, advanced 15 percent to 0.247 lei, the biggest intraday gain since Sept. 19.

To contact the reporter on this story: Pawel Kozlowski in Warsaw; Irina Savu in Bucharest

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