Bloomberg News

Slovenian Stock Index Drops Most in World on Early Vote

January 14, 2013

Slovenian benchmark stock index dropped the most in the world as the prospect of early elections prompted investors to sell.

The SBITOP index of the seven most-traded stocks slumped 3.9 percent, the most among the gauges tracked by Bloomberg, to 633.93 at 1:35 p.m. in Ljubljana.

Appliance maker Gorenje Group d.d., state-owned phone company Telekom Slovenije d.d. and insurer Zavarovalnica Triglav (ZVTG) d.d. led the decline.

Political turmoil erupted last week when the Slovenian anti-graft agency accused Prime Minister Janez Jansa of failing to declare his assets, prompting his coalition partners to demand he quit and increasing the prospect of an early vote.

“The political uncertainty increased the risk of investing in Slovenia, especially for those stocks that rose in the past months on speculation the government may sell its holdings,” said Saso Stanovnik, the head of research at brokerage Alta Invest d.d. in Ljubljana, in an e-mail.

The Adriatic nation may see its economic overhaul derailed by an early vote and push the euro-region member to seek international assistance as the banking industry struggles with surging bad loans and the economy slides into its second recession in three years.

Jansa’s administration, in power less than a year, passed legislation to clean up banks’ balance sheets to restart lending and create a sovereign wealth fund that is meant to ease the sale of state assets.

Both measures were challenged by a referendum that was prevented by the ruling of the country’s Constitutional Court on Dec. 19.

Finance Minister Janez Sustersic has said the government is ready to sell its stakes in state-owned enterprises, including Telekom Slovenije and Triglav insurer.

To contact the reporter on this story: Boris Cerni in Ljubljana at bcerni@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net


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