ECONOMY

Mid-caps the stars of 2006

The year 2006 proved to be a rewarding one for the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), with the strong presence of foreign institutional investors who account for about 50 percent of its total capitalization. The ASE general index gained 19.93 percent over the year, closing at 4,394.13 points on Friday, after rising 0.13 percent in three sessions last week. Mid-caps outperformed blue chips and small-caps, with the FTSE/Athex Mid 40 ending 54.41 percent higher than a year earlier. The blue chip FTSE/Athex 20 added 17.73 percent and the FTSE/Athex Small-Cap 80 advanced 40.52 percent. The petroleum and technology sectoral indices were the only two of 17 which ended in negative territory, losing 7.96 percent and 1.07 percent. By contrast, health outperformed, ending 151.93 percent up, followed by chemicals with gains of 99.57 percent, financial services with 76.11 percent, and raw materials up 53.07 percent. Construction rose 33.67 percent, industrial products and services rose 32.35 percent, commerce 31.28 percent, personal and household products 25.92 percent, food and beverages 25.11 percent, telecoms 24.10 percent, banks 23.89 percent and insurance 22.56 percent. The media and utilities indices gained 5.97 percent and 5.25 percent respectively. Among individual stocks, Lavipharm landed a whooping 509.3 percent gain; Veterin surged 489.10 percent and Delta Project added 445.2 percent of value to investors. By contrast, Hitech shed 69.4 percent, Elbisco lost 58.5 percent and Atermon ended 56.0 percent down. Turnover last week totaled 509.67 million euros, an average of 169.89 million per session, against 333.49 million the week before.