ECONOMY

ASE rules take effect

The first day of trading on the Athens Stock Exchange under new regulations which limit trade hours for medium- and low-capitalization stocks went off smoothly yesterday. The new regulations have created new categories depending on a listing’s capitalization. The 80 capitalization stocks, with a market value of at least 100 million euros, are traded freely between 11.30 a.m. and 4.30 p.m. The 223 medium- and low-capitalization stocks are traded between 2 and 4.30 p.m. Between 4.30 and 4.45 p.m., auctions are conducted that determine a listing’s closing price. Between 4.45 and 5 p.m. transactions are conducted at the closing price. A third category of stocks are called «listings with special market of features.» The five stocks falling into this category are all low-volatility and represent companies with little productive activity. These and the 18 stocks under supervision are traded only in auctions taking place at 2, 3.30 and 4.30 p.m. Finally, there are the suspended stocks, which do not trade for various reasons. Yesterday’s session was marked by heavy trade in just five stocks, which accounted for 51 percent of total turnover (OTE, 15 percent; National Bank, 15 percent; PPC, 9.5 percent; OPAP, 7 percent and Alpha Bank, 4.5 percent). Market experts said that the extension of trading hours for high-capitalization stocks created periods of subdued trading, particularly in the early afternoon, but that the condensed period for trading medium and low-cap stocks helped take up the slack. Otherwise, the session confirmed what has been increasingly true over the years – that the ASE is a two-tier market, with many stocks having very little turnover, as foreign investors focus on the bigger stocks and domestic retail investors are still afraid to enter the market, despite the fact that it has been expanding for more than two-and-a-half years.