ECONOMY

Will index keep rising?

In a relatively late response to global markets which have been breaking successive all-time records recently, the Athens Stock Exchange general index at last broke past the 4,000-point barrier, rising to a near five-month high on Thursday. Although it failed to retain it on Friday, it nevertheless closed with gains of 1.36 percent for the week, at 3,984.47 points. The upward move was mostly based on buy orders for blue chips from foreign institutionals, which produced about a 50 percent rise in turnover, and gave rise to positive short-term expectations. Coastal shipping, energy and metals were the focus of investors’ interest, due to expected business deals, and helped spread optimism to the majority of stocks. The blue chip FTSE/Athex 20 index gained 1.46 percent, the FTSE/Athex Mid 40 surged 2.97 percent and the FTSE/Athex Small-Cap 80 ended 1.55 percent higher. Industrial products & services outperformed among sectoral indices, adding 6.53 percent over the week. Raw materials followed, ending 5.70 percent higher, while utilities advanced 3.18 percent. The weekly turnover rose to 2.21 billion euros, an average per session of 441.25 million, against 298.55 million in the week before. Germanos accounted for 130.2 million euros, including the payment for a 42 percent stake by mobile operator Cosmote. According to data by the Athens Depositary of Shares for September, foreigners were net buyers, placing 459 million euros in Greek shares, bringing their total since the beginning of the year to 2.6 billion euros. Most analysts remain cautiously optimistic that the momentum will continue for the rest of the month.