Rebound continues but investors stay guarded

Greek stocks continued their rebound on a more confident note yesterday, spearheaded by OTE telecoms after the government confirmed that it was considering its full privatization from next year. Small caps were relatively more favored. The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) general index gained 1 percent, closing at 4,114.04 points. Winners outnumbered decliners 2.5 to 1 and all sectoral indices headed north except utility services. However, the rebound was not accompanied by a rise in turnover – an indication that investors on the whole remained guarded. The blue chip FTSE/ASE-20 index added 0.95 percent, the FTSE/ASE Mid-40 gained 0.77 percent and the FTSE/ASE Small-Cap 80 advanced 1.31 percent. Among blue chips, apart from OTE which surged 3.41 percent, Intracom outperformed by rising 3.79 percent, while Hellenic Petroleum continued its ascent 2.58 percent higher; Eurobank added 2.21 percent, Coca Cola HBC 1.86 percent, Alpha Bank 1.53 percent and ATEbank 1.48 percent. In contrast, the Public Power Corporation slid 2.12 percent, while heavyweights National Bank and Emporiki, despite posting a profit for 2005, closed 0.05 and 0.07 percent lower. The deadline for the announcement of 2005 results expires today. Turnover totaled 247.95 million euros.