Uncertainty clouds market

Having not quite recovered from the selling run of the previous two months, Greek stocks, in common with global markets, were again hit by heavy weather due to geopolitical developments last week. What is worse, forecasters are refusing to make short-term predictions with any degree of certainty. Nevertheless, the effect of news of hostilities in Lebanon seemed to abate on Friday and the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) general index managed to edge 0.09 percent up for the week, closing at 3,618.97 points. Stockbrokers and analysts expect the ASE to continue being strongly affected by external factors, both those in the Middle East and the second-quarter results expected to be reported by industrial giants in the US and Europe. If the market keeps slipping, which is considered quite likely, mid- and small-caps are expected to receive the strongest pressure, not so much due to aggressive selling as to the difficulty of finding buyers. Nevertheless, developments are expected at home regarding the privatization of Emporiki Bank, as the deadline for the submission of rival bids approaches and the race is expected to heat up. This, combined with the expiry of July futures in the derivatives market on Friday, may offset geopolitical concerns and sustain the market, provided the geopolitical situation does not worsen. «In this uncertain environment, we estimate that the general index will continue moving on trading range between 3,550 and 3,700 points next (this) week, unless the crisis in the Middle East assumes uncontrollable dimensions,” said Manos Hadjidakis in P&K’s weekly report.