ASE’s two-tier market to open later

The Athens Stock Exchange will open and close half an hour later than usual from Monday to boost international interest in its stocks and bring it more closely in line with other European bourses. The exchange will open at 11.30 a.m. after a brief preopening period when traders can input orders, and will close at 4.30 p.m. The move will make it easier for investors elsewhere in Europe and in the United States to trade its stocks. The exchange’s derivatives market (ADEX) which trades stock index futures and options, euro/dollar and individual stock futures will also adjust its trading hours, moving them 30 minutes later. ADEX trading will start at 11.15 a.m. to 5 p.m. The bourse will also introduce a more restricted trading day for smaller stocks, because the lack of liquidity in those shares was making it uneconomical for brokerages to try to trade them during a longer day. Only the exchange’s large capitalization shares, worth more than 100 million euros ($117.6 million), will trade for five complete hours, while the bourse’s 223 mid- and small-cap listings will trade from 2 p.m. to 4.30 p.m. The exchange said its new large-cap market will consist of 80 listings or 84 shares, as some companies also have preferred outstanding shares, though some larger companies would be excluded. Bank of Greece, National Investments, Ionian Hotels, Piraeus Leasing, Progress Fund, Crown Hellas Can, Hellenic Sugar and Hellenic Investments will not be included in the large-cap segment, either because they have small free floats of readily tradeable shares or because they are about to merge. As part of the plan, index compiler FTSE and the Athens Stock Exchange will launch a benchmark on January 2 including all large-cap listings – the FTSE/ATHEX International stock index.

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