ECONOMY

ASE stays up, blue chips soft

Greek stocks last week tested the 3,960-point level – considered key by analysts – for the third time in as many weeks, as oil prices continued to decline and US interest rates remained unchanged, spreading a positive climate to stock markets. The optimism, however, weakened on Friday and the attempt was unsuccessful. The Athens Stock Exchange general index closed only 0.72 percent up than a week earlier, at 3,934.21 points. Investors appeared rather anxious to lock in profits but analysts argued that the upward momentum indicated the potential to move the index higher, barring negative international developments. The small- and medium-capitalization indices outperformed blue chips. The FTSE/Athex 20 blue chip index was 0.80 percent higher, the FTSE/Athex Mid 40 added 1.82 percent and the FTSE/Athex Small-Cap 80 advanced 2.11 percent. Most sectoral indices ended in positive territory. Health outperformed by surging 6.27 percent, followed by personal & household products with gains of 3.96 percent. Insurance was up 2.54 percent and food & beverages added 2.44 percent. In contrast, travel & leisure dropped 2.13 percent and media was 1.78 percent lower. Tasolgou outperformed with a weekly gain of 35.29 percent, while Emporikos Desmos topped the losers’ list (-43.40 percent). Turnover rose to an average of 265.99 million euros per session, against 242.56 million last week. It is argued that breaking the 3,960-point barrier will further depend on the performance of blue chips, such as OTE and National Bank, which remained steady above 34 euros on Friday despite the selling pressure.