ECONOMY

More deals shaping up

The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) general index closed the week 3.53 percent higher at 4,285.93 points, with the average daily turnover up by 10 percent. A positive sentiment seemed to take hold as foreign markets seemed to be relatively unruffled by higher oil prices. But investors seemed to be further buoyed by the prospect of weighty business deals, while also maintaining a selective attitude in their placements. Analysts consider that mobile operator Cosmote’s buyout of retailer Germanos, which is initially estimated at more than 500 million euros and on which further details are expected today, will be followed by more business deals and probably one in the construction sector this week. It is also expected that Dubai Financial will complete the process for the acquisition of a stake in Marfin Bank, possibly opening the round for more deals in the banking sector which analysts see as bound to come soon. They also say that a foretaste of deals to come was perhaps given by the outperformance of small and middle capitalizations, with the FTSE/ASE Small-Cap 80 and Mid 40 indices gaining 5.74 percent and 4.15 percent for the week. The blue-chip FTSE/ASE 20 index ended 3.58 percent higher. Analysts caution, however, that any progress of the market to higher levels is conditional on the climate in foreign markets. Chemicals outperformed among sectoral indices with gains of 7.02 percent. Industrial products and services ended 6.20 percent higher and telecommunications 5.92 percent.