ECONOMY

OTE and NBG go on LIFFE

OTE Telecom and the National Bank of Greece (NBG) started trading stock futures on London’s International Financial Futures and Options Exchange (LIFFE) yesterday, as part of a new batch of 30 stocks. LIFFE added 30 new universal stock futures contracts (USFs) yesterday bringing its total to 95. We expect a quiet trading day today. Greece is a new market for us. If these contracts trade well, we may consider additional Greek USFs in the future, Karen Dixon, LIFFE’s marketing director, said. According to Merrill Lynch, open interest in European stock futures markets has remained stable despite market declines in recent months. Total national open interest on European stock futures stands at 1.9 billion euros with LIFFE contracts representing 545 million euros. Newcomer OTE Telecom’s December universal stock future on LIFFE opened at 17.73 to 17.98 euros and did its first 10 contracts at 17.90 euros. The National Bank’s nearest month future opened at 25.00 to 29.00 euros and was later quoted at 27.47 to 27.87 euros. OTE Telecom and the National Bank of Greece, both local index heavyweights, also trade in ADR form on the New York Stock Exchange and on the London Stock Exchange LIFFE’s so-called universal stock futures are cash settled, meaning there is no physical delivery of the underlying security on expiration. One futures contract represents 100 shares. The tick size, the minimum price movement, is 0.01 euro, making the tick value one euro. The universe of 95 stocks covered by LIFFE stock futures represents over 35 percent of the FTSE All-World Index. (Reuters) However, the current restructuring of the wholesale distribution market could force the smaller companies to merge.