ECONOMY

Upbeat mood consolidating

Greek stocks continued climbing last week, with only a brief respite on Wednesday, after which they resumed their momentum independently of the relatively subdued climate in foreign markets. The Athens Stock Exchange general share price index closed at 4,260.72 points, a gain of 2.0 percent on the previous week’s close, on continuing strong interest by foreign institutionals in banking and telecoms shares. Turnover rose to 1.94 billion euros, an average of 387.16 million euros per session, from 279.53 million the previous week. All major indices gained: The blue chip FTSE/Athex 20 index was up 2.22 percent, the FTSE/Athex Mid-40 rose 1.26 percent and the FTSE/Athex Small-Cap 80 gained 2.85 percent. All 17 sectoral indices gained ground, led by technology (4.24 percent) and construction (4.05 percent). Banks advanced 2.66 percent. Bank of Cyprus topped the list of the most heavily traded shares, with an average turnover of 54.54 million euros per session. It was trailed by banks National and Piraeus. A characteristic indication of the mounting euphoria was a report by Eurobank Securities which forecast that the general index will capture the 4,500-point heights by year’s end. The basic factors fueling the ascent are seen as firms’ good nine-month reports and the continuing improvements in the institutional framework by stock market authorities. A spate of results, due in the next two weeks, is expected to maintain the interest. However, market players expressed concern at the weak presence of domestic institutionals.