News Column

Stocks, lira post losses after 3-day break

July 31, 2014

ISTANBUL (CIHAN)- Main Turkish share index Borsa Istanbul was down 2.17 percent at 83,189 points on Thursday, underperforming the wider emerging markets index, which fell 0.68 percent.

The lira weakened sharply in response to recent dollar strength as trading resumed after a three-day holiday marking the end of Ramadan. The currency fell to 2.14 against the US dollar by Thursday afternoon, weakening from 2.0941 late on Friday.

The benchmark 10-year government bond yield rose to 8.98 percent in very thin trade, up from 8.73 percent last Friday.

Shares in mobile phone company Turkcell climbed 3 percent on Thursday, boosted by news that Turkish shareholder Çukurova had agreed financing terms enabling it to recover a controlling stake in the company.

On Friday, a British court announced that financing terms had been agreed between Çukurova and its Russian partner Altimo which would enable it to recover the disputed Turkcell stake. Sources familiar with the deal said Çukurova would secure the funding from Turkish state-owned lender Ziraat Bank and would make the $1.6 billion payment this week.

Çukurova has been battling Altimo, the telecoms investment arm of Russia'sAlfa Group, for seven years for control of Turkey's biggest mobile phone operator, choking decision-making at the firm and preventing the payment of dividends. "We deem this development positive for Turkcell as reaching a solution on this deadlock should pave the way for the long-awaited divided payments," Tera Brokers said in a daily note. By 0849 GMT, Turkcell shares trimmed some of their gains, trading up 2.2 percent at 13.95 lira, off a high of 14.15.

Meanwhile, Islamic lender Bank Asya fell 3.9 percent after pro-government media Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as saying the bank was not in a good position and was seeking to sell assets to boost liquidity.

"After Erdogan's comments, doubts are arising as to whether the bank will be able to find a strategic partner," one Istanbul-based equities trader said.

Bank Asya was not immediately available for comment.

At the start of July, sources close to the matter told Reuters that Bank Asya and Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) had ended exclusive talks over QIB acquiring a stake. Bank Asya subsequently said such reports did not reflect the truth.

(Cihan/Today's Zaman) CIHAN

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Source: Cihan News Agency (Turkey)

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