Don’t write off the stock market

June was not bad for the stock market, after all. The general index of the Athens bourse (ASE) remained almost stagnant, but that is not particularly important. There was a major successful listing, that of Postal Savings Bank, and National Bank’s large right issue. The raising of 3 billion euros is a success not only for the bank’s management but for the stock market as a whole. Even more important are the turnover data for June. It seems that foreign institutionals, despite the upheaval in emerging markets, remained buyers in Athens. This may be an important indication of the ASE’s differentiation from emerging markets. Foreign placements were up 75 percent in the first half, year-on-year. But there was also good news from retail investors; in June, the net number of new stock market investment accounts opened by private investors reached 6,300. In all, the Greek stock market seems to belie those hastening to predict its demise. It has shown it has prospects and can offer opportunities to those displaying confidence in it. The dominant force remains foreign investors, as in other markets. This means that global risks are increasing and that both the government and (particularly) company managers have to adapt to the requirements of the international market – especially as regards value for investors, the return to equity. Curiously, this still causes some surprise for a number of managers, as if shareholders are just there to place their funds and wait, approving all managers’ moves without queries.