ECONOMY

Outlook is uncertain

The Greek stock market showed signs of stability last week, with the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) general index fluctuating narrowly around 4,150 points. Investors appeared to adopt a wait-and-see attitude ahead of the expected flurry of announcements of 2005 results, the deadline for which expires at the end of the month. Blue chips appeared out of favor, with interest focusing on mid-caps and small-caps, particularly those with promising growth potential. The ASE general index closed with gains of 1.07 percent in the four sessions to Thursday at 4,148.40 points (Friday data was unavailable, the day being the eve of the national holiday). The blue chip FTSE/ASE 20 index gained 0.39 percent, while the FTSE/ASE Mid-Cap 40 added 3.02 percent and the FTSE/ASE Small-Cap 80 1.38 percent. The FTSE/ ATHEX International index was up 1.01 percent. All but two of the 17 sectoral indices headed north, led by insurance (4.36 percent) and telecommunications (3.31 percent). Only banks and commerce retreated, 0.71 percent and 0.40 percent respectively. Some analysts tend to take the view that the short-term trend remains unclear but that the technical picture of most blue chips indicates a slightly lower level for the general index. Others note investors’ dilemma over whether to take some of the profits of the recent mini-rally or wait for the more weighty business deals which will send the market higher. Turnover in the four sessions fell to 1.28 billion euros, representing an average of 255.8 million per session, down from 325.54 million in the previous week.