Czech Shares Set Another Record High

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Czech shares pulled the PX index to a new all-time high today, beating last week's record, owing to hefty gains from CME, Pegas and Komercni banka, the Prague Stock Exchange said.

The PX closed at 1,814.6 points, up 0.17 percent against Friday and 0.5 points higher against the previous closing high.

Trading activity was thin, with turnover tumbling to Kc2.85 billion from a high Kc5 billion on Friday.

State-run power producer CEZ was the only issue with turnover topping Kc1 billion on the day of its general meeting. The stock put on 0.35 percent to Kc990.5. Analysts said the meeting brought no surprises.

US media group CME rose 1.39 percent to Kc1,890 and textile maker Pegas Nonwovens added 1.08 percent to Kc785.

Bank shares diverged, with Czech bank Komercni banka up 0.77 percent at Kc4,063 and Austria's Erste Bank off 0.18 percent at Kc1,683.

Shareholders in CEZ, the most profitable Czech company and the biggest issue on the market, approved a Kc20 dividend from last year's profit today after a Kc15 dividend paid out a year ago.

The general meeting also decided CEZ would buy out its own shares worth up to 10 percent of its share capital. The cabinet has decided the state, which owns 67.6 percent of CEZ, will sell 7 percent of its shares on the stock market.

"Since the approval of both steps at the general meeting was expected, we see the news as neutral," said Atlantik FT analyst Petr Novak.

The PX has put on 14.2 percent so far this year, a stronger growth than analysts had expected for full-year 2007. In 2006, the PX rose 7.9 percent after a 42.7 percent increase in 2005.

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