ECONOMY

Low volume rules ASE

The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) general index ended 0.26 percent lower on Friday than a week earlier, at 2,328.71 points, with trading marked by an evident lack of buying interest. Turnover totaled 403.07 million euros for the week, representing an average daily of 80.61 million. The largest part of trading was accounted for by foreign institutionals. Characteristic of the absence of domestic investors was that only 7,000 trading accounts were activated – a low of several years. The small-cap FTSE/ASE-80 index came under the strongest pressure, losing 0.89 percent. The mid-cap and blue chip indices shed 0.72 percent and 0.21 percent respectively. Most sectoral indices headed south, led by insurance, which declined 3.09 percent and was followed by real estate management (-2.82 percent) and refineries (-1.60 percent). Investment and holdings led the winners, advancing 1.82 percent and 1.00 percent respectively. Decliners outnumbered advancers 203 to 114, with 46 remaining unchanged on 363 traded. Construction company Ergas outperformed, gaining 17.86 percent, while at the other end the preferred stock of another construction firm, AEGEK, crashed 18.52 percent lower. The most marketable securities were Kotsovolos, Alpha Bank and EFG Eurobank. Analysts note that very little capital calls the tune in every session, and most of it is exhausted in a very small number of blue chips. Even small moves cause upheavals, whether buying or selling, as most stocks come under pressure with the minimum of supply. Others claim there are orchestrated attempts to prop up the general index with some blue chips in order to facilitate the liquidation of others.