CEE MARKETS-FX virtually unchanged, Budapest stocks outperform
BUCHAREST, March 16 (Reuters) - Central European currencies were mixed in thin trading on Tuesday and regional stocks retreated from highs in the previous session, with Budapest outperforming the region, helped by leading pharmaceutical company Richter Gedeon GDRB.BU.
On Monday, Prague's main share index tested 2021 highs and Warsaw hit a two-month peak as central European equities started the week on stronger ground on the back of global recovery hopes, while currencies moved sideways.
By 1020 GMT, Budapest's .BUX rose as much as 1.78% to an almost two-week high of 44,490. Richter outperformed the wider market by gaining 2.96%, which "was due to technical reasons," a Budapest-based stock trader said.
The Prague PX index .PX shed 0.17% and Warsaw's blue-chip .WIG20 index was virtually unchanged. Widely seen as cheaper than U.S. or other peers, central Europe's stocks have received a boost in recent days after the $1.9 trillion U.S. stimulus package was approved.
The National Bank of Hungary (NBH) offered to buy 2026/F, 2033/A, 2038/A and 2041/A bonds from banks on Tuesday.
Results are due at 1200 GMT. Last week, the NBH adjusted its bond-buying program, saying it would make purchases flexibly, without limits on individual bond series in order to ensure market stability. nL1N2L711H
Traders said they did not expect NBH's step to be able to counter the effect of rising core market yields on Hungary but could help soften the impact.
The forint EURHUF= edged down as far as 367.2 per euro in early trade on Tuesday. Markets in Hungary were closed for a national holiday on Monday, which resulted in an illiquid forint market, Erste Bank wrote in a note.
Elsewhere, Poland's central bank will publish net inflation and current account data at 1300 GMT, with the latter expected to show a large surplus.
"In our opinion, the zloty EURPLN= will remain concentrated around 4.59 per euro today, although today's domestic data on a high current account surplus should theoretically support the zloty strengthening," Bank Millennium wrote in a note.
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(Reporting by Radu Marinas in Bucharest, Anita Komuves in Budapest and Alan Charlish in Warsaw; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)
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