ECONOMY

Blue chips rebound

The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) general index ended slightly lower, 0.16 percent, on Friday than a week earlier, at 2,863.82 points – making it the fourth straight losing week. Although the index fell briefly through the 2,800-point level in intra-session trade on Wednesday, it stabilized by week’s end, leading analysts to suggest that the downward trend has likely petered out. Turnover rose to 569.47 million euros, a daily average of 142.37 million in the four-session week, from 131.08 million the previous week. Among FTSE indices, those of small- and mid-caps came under the most pressure, shedding 0.63 and 0.11 percent respectively. By contrast, the blue chip FTSE/ASE-20 index ended 0.2 percent higher, at 1,593.19 points. The composite FTSE/ASE-140 index was up 0.12 percent for the week. Only six of the 18 sectoral indices managed to hold their ground. The top gainers were wholesale commerce (2.24 percent) and real estate (1.37 percent). Banks and retail commerce advanced 0.87 percent each. Top losers were printing & publishing (down 2.91 percent) and insurance (2.57 percent). Of 342 traded stocks, 201 declined, 102 advanced and 38 ended unchanged. Analysts point out that several blue chips had receded to support levels and gave evidence of a rebound on Friday. The trend this week is likely to be mostly affected by sentiment abroad. But investors are also anticipating developments regarding a solution of banks’ unfunded social insurance liabilities, a placement by gaming firm OPAP and first-quarter results.