Greek banks offer good growth opportunities, says big institutional

LONDON (Reuters) – Stock markets in eastern Europe, Greece and the Baltic states offer the most attractive growth opportunities heading into the third-quarter, while utilities are also a good bet, fund manager Standard Life Investments said yesterday. The FTSEurofirst 300 Index of European blue-chips rallied to three-year highs this week, as solid US data and encouraging signs for the second-quarter earnings season helped markets recover from the impact of last week’s bombings in London. While western European indexes including those in London, Paris and Frankfurt all scaled new peaks, Standard Life is looking further east this quarter. «Given the lackluster economic environment in core Europe, we continue to favor the faster growth offered by peripheral markets such as Greece, eastern Europe and the Baltic states,» Kay Eyre, Standard Life’s investment director for Europe, said in a note. «We do not believe that recent constitutional setbacks signal the end of the EU, hence we continue to be ‘heavy’ in stocks such as National Bank of Greece and Alpha Bank, and companies like OMV and Kredietbank that have major operations in eastern Europe,» she said. Standard Life had 96 billion pounds in assets under management at the end of 2004.

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