ECONOMY

Low interest is prevalent

The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) benchmark general index ended on Friday at 2,124.70 points, representing a gain of 0.76 percent for the week, after four sessions with gains and one with losses. A blue-chip rally in the last five minutes on Friday saved the day, pushing the index 0.64 percent up. Investor interest could be generally described as subdued, after three banks, National, Alpha and Piraeus, drew considerable liquidity by selling share blocks, and in view of the upcoming third public offering of the Public Power Corporation (PPC). Analysts said the index stood little chance of advancing as long as interest is focused on the planned part-privatizations this autumn through which the government is hoping to raise about 3 billion euros. The weekly turnover reached 992.74 billion euros, a daily average of 198.54 million. Interest was strongest in blue chips; the FTSE/ASE-20 index gained 0.83 percent and the FTSE/ ASE Mid-40 rose 0.64 percent, while the FTSE/ASE Small-Cap 80 receded 0.76 percent. The FTSE/ASE-140, a composite of the above three, gained 0.63 percent. The picture among sectoral indices was mixed. The biggest gainers were refineries, which surged 4.08 percent, and holdings, which advanced 2.79 percent. Of the 369 stocks traded, 226 ended with losses, 115 gained and 28 remained unchanged. Gainers were led by Parnassos Enterprises (27.96 percent) and newcomer Marak Electronics (23.63 percent). The biggest losers were Emporikos Desmos (-22.5 percent) and Xifias (-20.62 percent). The most marketable securities were Papastratos with National and Piraeus banks.