Athens Stock Exchange to extend trading day

The stock market’s trading hours will be extended to six hours, from 10.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m., as soon as next week, according to sources. The board of Hellenic Exchanges, the company operating the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), wants to move up the opening time to coincide with those of the 16 exchanges in Western Europe. The rationale behind the decision is the increasing interest of foreign investors in the ASE. Already, 41 percent of the ASE’s total capitalization of 142 billion euros is controlled by foreign portfolios. In 2005 alone, the net capital inflows from abroad exceeded 5.2 billion euros. At present, more than 50 percent of daily turnover is the result of transactions involving foreign investors. And, with many listings at attractive levels for buyers following last May’s correction, interest from foreign institutionals is expected to increase. ASE Chairman Spyros Kapralos will visit London in a couple of weeks to take part in a roadshow on the prospects of Greece’s stock market and the new products to be launched. Kapralos will also tell his audience that ocean shipping companies will soon be listed on the ASE. The three-day roadshow is organized in cooperation with Citigroup.