ECONOMY

Index likely to rebound

The defusion of pressures in foreign markets allowed Greek stocks on Friday to rebound from year-lows earlier in the week. The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) general index closed at 3.529.24 points, or 4.42 percent lower than a week earlier. Mid- and small-caps were especially hard hit during the week, with the FTSE/Athex Mid-40 and FTSE/Athex Small-Cap 80 shedding 6.32 percent and 8.41 percent respectively. The blue chip FTSE/Athex 20 ended 3.36 percent lower. Friday’s recovery began mainly from the absorption of sales of National Bank, which hit a year-low of 27.76 euros on Tuesday. The strong demand offered by institutional investors upheld the stock and later spread to other blue chips like Alpha Bank, OTE and EFG Eurobank. Analysts, however, noted that Friday’s low turnover portends some uncertainty for the market in the short term. This is accentuated by the fact that National will trade ex-dividend from tomorrow, as well as the unsually open high positions in blue chip derivative contracts which are coming up for maturity. Technical analysis does not show a change, but analysts point out that the index is returning from a mini-crash, having lost about 800 points in the last month, and that it should take several northbound sessions for investors’ sentiment to start gaining some confidence. Insurance was the hardest-hit sectoral index in the week, shedding 11.63 percent, closely followed by raw materials. The three most marketable securities were banks National, Postal Savings and Alpha.