The German Constitutional Court’s decision in favor of the European Stability Mechanism and the progress finally observed in terms of Greek privatizations, and particularly OPAP, saw the local stock market outperform its European peers on Wednesday, posting a rise for the seventh session in succession.
Most European bourses registered gains, but the Athens Exchange (ATHEX) saw its general index surge 5.33 percent to end at 770.53 points, from Tuesday’s 731.51 points. The blue chip FTSE/ATHEX 20 index expanded by 6.85 percent to close at 288.60 points.
Gaming company OPAP led gains among state-controlled companies after the country’s asset sales fund (TAIPED) announced plans to sell 29 percent of the state’s 34 percent stake. The fund’s board will meet next Wednesday to approve the launch of an international tender for Europe’s biggest listed gambling firm. OPAP jumped 6.83 percent yesterday, taking its market value to 2.04 billion euros.
The climate in Europe regarding Greece’s future has clearly drawn investors back to the Greek bourse, with distress funds taking over as they bank on the lessening country risk and low stock prices. Buyers on Wednesday included Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, UBS and Nomura as well as domestic investment funds, with turnover soaring to the highest of the last 72 sessions: It amounted to 127.2 million euros, more than twice as much as Tuesday’s 61 million.
The presence of foreign portfolios is not only confirmed by reports but also by the aggressive moves in bank stocks, to say nothing of the increase in turnover. It remains to be seen whether purchases are just short-term.
The bank index shot up 14.02 percent, the biggest rise in the last three months. Eurobank Ergasias stole the show with gains of 26.20 percent, followed by Piraeus Bank (up 22.45 percent), Marfin Investment Group (17.36 percent) and National Bank (16.57 percent). Titan cement was the only non-mover among blue chips.
In total, 115 stocks secured gains, 48 suffered losses and 15 remained unchanged.