ECONOMY

ASE keeps edging up

The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) general index closed on Friday at 3,499.77 points, up 0.45 percent from the previous week’s close, despite teething problems in the new method of determining closing prices and changes in trading hours. The improvement was supported by a positive sentiment in foreign markets. Turnover also rose, to 1.21 billion euros, an average of 242.10 million euros per session, from 212.29 million the previous week. Among the Financial Times indices, the FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips ended with no change from a week earlier at 1,945.61 points, the FTSE/ASE Mid-40 gained 1.21 percent but the FTSE/ASE Small-Cap 80 shed 1.78 percent. Twelve of the 18 sectoral indices ended with gains last week led by information technology, refineries and textiles, all of which finished about 3.3 percent up. The top loser was basic metals, which ended 1.74 percent down. Analysts on the whole view the market trend as positive, noting that most investment banks continue to raise price targets for blue chips, which reported an average rise of 36.7 percent in profits after tax and minorities for the nine months. Others do not rule out relatively wide fluctuations in the short-term as institutional investors may take into account their end-of-year positions. Most market players consider that without any significant business developments at home, the ASE will continue dancing to the tune set by the big European bourses.