European COVID-19 woes hit Warsaw bourse

While prices on the Warsaw Stock Exchange were buoyant earlier in the week compared to the major European exchanges, Wednesday saw prices fall over three percent.

On Monday and Tuesday Warsaw seemed immune to the downward trend on European stock markets. However, on Wednesday Poland’s main indexes are among those with the sharpest falls.

The valuation of shares in more traditional industries such as petrol retailers and banking fell earlier in the week.

Shares of companies in sectors particularly affected by measures introduced to restrict the spread of the pandemic on Saturday were also being sold off, such as media chain Agora, which owns cinema chain Helios, and Benefit, which runs corporate subscriptions to gyms. The shoes retailer CCC announced better-than-expected results for the third quarter, but investors avoided the stock on Wednesday, evidently more concerned about the effect of a further lockdown on its sales.

But tech stocks have done relatively well, up until today, considering the circumstances. This may reflect the fact that much of their revenue is impervious to lockdown, as high technology firms are often more able to shift to home working and many saw revenues rise, earlier in the year, as companies and consumers prepared themselves for life online.

Nevertheless the news on Tuesday evening of a 21-day delay in the launch of CD Projekt’s new Cyberpunk 77 video game had investors pressing the sell button.

The launch date of December 10 means that the company will miss some of the Christmas market.

When a video game company is the second-largest entity by market capital in the country, bigger than banks, copper mills and petrochemical groups, the delay of a much feted game can have an impact wider than a bad harvest or a drop in metal markets.

So it was on Wednesday, when CD Projekt tweeted that even although it recently received the quality gold standard for the game, which features a character styled on Hollywood Actor Keanu Reeves, they need more time to ensure enough testing of the game on all platforms.

The game is to be available on nine platforms of the present and future generations of Xbox One/X, with Xbox Series S/X, PlayStation 4/Pro, and PlayStation 5, as well as on PC.

CD Projekt board members Marcin Iwiński and Adam Badowski tweeted that devoting an additional 21 days to testing “will be advantageous for the present and future value of the company”.

The delay in the launch is not the only reason for the fall in prices on the Warsaw stock exchange. The market is also sensitive to a drop in the value of the currency. PLN fell from 4.58 against the EUR to 4.62. This breaks the record in March of 4.60 when the national lockdown was announced.