ECONOMY

293 mln euros raised on ASE

Total capital raised on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) in the January-September 2003 period reached 293 million euros – double the amount in the same period last year. The sum was accounted for by 42 companies, of which 11 floated their shares on the bourse for the first time, raising 48 million. In general, the performance of the ASE in the last nine months, although satisfactory, appears to fall short of that of other markets abroad, which now seem to be overcoming the accumulated problems of the last two years. According to the Bank of Greece’s interim report on monetary policy, released on Thursday, stock market developments in Greece this year were marked by significant fluctuations – generally in line with international developments, except most recently. The report notes that the ASE general index followed a downward course during the first quarter of the year but turned around strongly after March through the end of August, when it stalled and then fell again. The ASE’s general index gained 15.5 percent between end-December 2002 and end-September 2003. It hit bottom at 1,467.3 points on March 31 and peaked at 2,310.5 points on August 22. The index’s gains in the nine months were higher than Standard and Poor’s 500 in the US (13.2 percent) and of the Dow Jones Euro Stoxx for the eurozone (4.1 percent). Bank stocks generally performed better than any other sectoral index, largely due to a significant improvement in their profitability, which rose 18 percent in the first half year-on-year, after drops of 45 percent and 14 percent in 2002 and 2001 respectively.