ECONOMY

Blue chips keep pace

The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) advanced 2.23 percent last week, closing at 3,086.51 points on Friday. Despite the accelerated gains for a fifth straight week, these were mostly realized by blue chips, which smaller capitalizations failed to match in the last two sessions. The blue chip FTSE/ASE 20 index added 2.82 percent, mainly on the strength of heavyweight banks and telecoms, after an impressive performance on Friday by OTE. Reports said OTE is to be upgraded by Moody’s credit rating agency by the end of the month. The FTSE/ASE Mid 40 ended 1.63 percent after a more encouraging start of the week. The small-cap index fell 0.18 percent. Other good performers included Mytilineos, Intralot, Coca-Cola HBC, Alpha Bank, Germanos, Jumbo and Neochimiki. Turnover rose to 974.95 million euros, an average per session of 194.99 million, against 160.30 million euros the week before. Although decliners outnumbered winners 184 to 120 on 346 stocks traded, only three sectoral indices ended the week with losses, with real estate shedding the most, 1.21 percent. Retail commerce outperformed with gains of 4.33 percent, followed by insurance (3.73 percent) and telecoms (3.50 percent). Banks gained 2.89 percent. Analysts said the hard core of about 30 stocks which has been driving the market for months now seems to have entered an «overbought» area but technical analysis is not giving an exit signal. But they caution that maturing futures contracts on stocks and indices may exert downward pressure this week, when developments are expected regarding the hot issue of banks’ pension funds.