ECONOMY

Turnover at year-lows

Greek stocks headed south last week, in line with most foreign markets. The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) general index ended 1.45 percent lower on Friday than a week earlier, at 2,950.55 points. Total weekly turnover, including prearranged block trades, fell to a year-low of 745.46 million euros, an average per session of 149.09 million, against 195.61 million the week before. Blue chips lost the most ground. The FTSE/ASE-20 index declined 1.90 percent, the FTSE/ASE Mid-40 1.05 percent, and the FTSE/ASE 1.23 percent. The composite FTSE/ASE-140 index shed 1.76 percent, closing at 3,464.18 points. Only three of the 18 sectoral indices bucked the downward trend, IT equipment-solutions (up 0.71 percent), retail commerce (0.37 percent), and real estate (0.43 percent). Of 349 traded stocks, 110 gained, 193 declined and 46 ended unchanged. Analysts argue that the loss of 1.45 percent for the general index on Friday cannot be taken as an indicator of the short-term trend, which is expected to become clearer in the next two sessions. However, the closing of the index at the session’s low indicates that the downward trend is likely to continue, though the direction of foreign markets will be the most influential factor. Investors are advised to look for the stocks of firms with good prospects, rather than be affected by negative psychology. Given the low current returns on the various investment products, a rate higher than 6 percent from stocks can be viewed as satisfactory. Others argue that the high stock price targets set by foreign investment banks are overoptimistic, as projected high growth rates have been already priced in.