The Slovenia Times

Ljubljana stock market index at 16-year high

The Ljubljana Stock Exchange. Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

The Ljubljana Stock Exchange has been seeing a sustained bullish trend. After gaining nearly 20% last year and another 26% in the first half of the year, the benchmark index SBI TOP passed the 1,600-point mark on 8 July to hit the highest value since August 2008.

While all prime market shares saw growth in the first half of the year, the issue of NLB, Slovenia's leading bank, rose up the most, by 48.82%, with the bullish trend continuing in July.

The NLB share closed at €131.50 on 8 July, up 155% from the opening price of €51.50 when the share was floated on the stock markets in Ljubljana and London on 14 November 2018 to wrap up the bank's privatisation through an initial public offering.

NLB shares have also been highly traded, coming second to the market's most active issue of pharma company Krka in the first half of the year (at €68.71 million and €76.19 million, respectively, block deals excluded), and then almost catching up in the second quarter (€38.60 million and €39.58 million, respectively). Krka rose by 25.45% in the first half of the year.

Petrol, the issue of the fuel retailer, gained 27.47% in the first half of the year, raking up €12.31 million in turnover as the fourth most traded share after that of chemical company Cinkarna Celje, which added 8.78% in half a year on €15.31 million in volumes.

Another share that posted strong growth in the first half of the year was that of Cetis, a company specialised in security printing, which rose 42.38% but on negligible volumes.

While the SBI TOP was up 25.9% in the first half of year, the total return index SBI TOP TR, which includes dividends in the calculation, was up by 29.5%.

According to a report by the business news portal Finance, this puts it well ahead of the most closely followed index of the largest US companies, the S&P 500, which rose by 19% over the same period taking into account dividends and euro comparisons, or the profitability of the Nasdaq Composite index, at 21%.

"The Ljubljana Stock Exchange continues to see high returns, but it should be noted that Krka, NLB and Petrol together have a 70% weighting in the SBI TOP index, so these stocks play a large role in the performance of the overall market," Rok Vrčkovnik of asset manager NLB Skladi told a webinar recently organised by the Ljubljana Stock Exchange as reported by the news portal.

"Slovenian companies continue to be profitable and stable, debt is low and dividend yields are high," he added.

The Ljubljana Stock Exchange started calculating the SBI TOP index in March 2006 at the starting value of 1,000 points. The index hit a record in September 2007, at 2,623 points.

Tomislav Apollonio of the NKBM bank stressed that despite the strong growth in the past two years, it is not possible to talk of a stock market bubble as seen in 2007. "The situation is not overheated. Companies are doing business differently, revenues and profits are higher, business models are different."

Slovenians remain conservative about their savings and are still reluctant to invest in stocks. Data from the European Fund and Asset Management Association and analysis for the past three years show about 6% of savings in Europe on average are in stocks, which compares to only 4% in Slovenia. On the other hand, 41% of savings are in deposits in Europe, compared to 73% in Slovenia, Apollonio added, according to


More from Business