ECONOMY

ASE correction remains elusive

Greek stocks rose to a new 66-month high last week, despite the fact that pressures in line with foreign bourses midweek made the correction that many analysts have predicted to occur in the first three months of the year appear imminent. The Athens Stock Exchange general index gained 0.22 percent over the week, closing at 4,688.67 points on Friday. Interest appeared to shift away from blue chips and onto mid-caps and small-caps. The FTSE/Athex 20 index added 0.34 percent to 2,560.17 points, the FTSE/Athex Mid-40 ended 0.96 percent higher at 5,533.08 points and the FTSE/Athex Small-Cap 80 rose 1.71 percent to 921.20 points. Eleven of 17 sectoral indices headed north, led by financial services, which climbed 4.23 percent. It was closely pursued by chemicals (up 3.70 percent) and oil and gas (3.16 percent). The biggest decliners were telecoms (down 3.47 percent) and travel and recreation (3.11 percent). Mochlos outperformed with gains of 29.41 percent, followed by Hitech SNT with 26.67 percent. The steepest losses were sustained by Petzetakis (less 12.81 percent) and Intralot (10.65 percent). The weekly turnover rose to 2.32 billion euros – an average of 463.95 million per session, against 424.93 million the previous week. National Bank accounted for an average of 99.09 million euros per session, followed by Piraeus Bank (-32.57 million) and Intralot (-31.37 million). Analysts argue that, as positive trends seem to weaken globally and given that four corrections have taken place since the beginning of the bull market in 2003, predictions of a fifth in the present circumstances acquire greater credence.