ECONOMY

Blue chip correction

Greek stocks made further gains last week, but Friday’s correction indicated that investors are concerned that the recent rally that sent the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) general index to a new four-year high earlier in the week may not last. The index ended 0.60 percent higher on Friday than a week earlier, at 3,271.78 points. Turnover totaled 1.19 billion euros, representing a daily average of 238.72 million. The strongest indication of the change in mood was the weekly 0.30 percent decline of the blue chip FTSE/ASE 20 index, which contrasted with the hefty 4.23 percent and 3.66 percent gains of the mid-cap FTSE/ASE 40 and FTSE/ASE small-cap 80 indices respectively. Most sectoral indices headed north, led by insurance with gains of 11.18 percent. In contrast, banks led the blue chip decline, ending 1.56 percent lower. Winners outnumbered decliners 242 to 75, while 29 share prices remained unchanged on 344 traded. EFG Eurobank said in a report the index was likely to regain the 3,300-point level by the end of the year, bolstered by structural reforms in the economy, attractive corporate profit levels, increased liquidity and a favorable international climate. «This does not mean that the market will fall in the coming months, but we believe that the current price levels are slightly higher than those we expect by the end of 2005,» said the report. In another report, Emporiki Securities saw a maintenance of the upward market momentum but noted that mid-caps yielded the highest returns last month.