ECONOMY

New index makes its debut

The FTSE/ASE-140 index, a new index grouping of existing blue chips, mid-caps and small-caps, made its debut on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday as part of the bourse’s strategy to raise the profile of Greek companies with foreign investors. «The addition of the FTSE/ASE-140 to the FTSE/ ASE series provides overseas and domestic investors with an easy-to-use and reliable benchmark for the Greek market,» said Peter de Graaf, managing director of FTSE Europe. Panayiotis Alexakis, ASE chairman, said the new index would promote Greek companies to both domestic and international investors. The new index, which comprises the 140 stocks of the blue chip FTSE/ASE-20, the FTSE/ASE-40 of mid-caps and the FTSE/ASE-80 of small-caps, posted a 1.77 percent increase to close at 2,035.38 points yesterday. It will be reviewed twice a year in April and October. The ASE’s attempts to boost investor interest in domestic stocks came after the benchmark index lost close to a third of its value last year, the third consecutive year of decline. An annus horribilis by all accounts, 2002 was marked by low liquidity and a sharp drop in the market’s capitalization to about 66 billion euros or 47 percent of GDP. The bourse is planning to sort out low liquidity stocks later in the year into a separate category to improve supply and demand of the shares. Yesterday, it unveiled its board of directors, effective from January 1. Alexakis remains in place as head of the board, assisted by vice presidents Socratis Lazaridis and Lito Ioannidou. Other board members are Panayiotis Drakos, executive president of the Union of Listed Companies, Vassiliki Campbell, head of Sigma Securities, Constantinos Pentedekas, Michalis Karamanof, Ioannis Gousios, Eleftherios Kourtalis, Dimitrios Rizos and Fotini Varvarousi.