ATHEX up but turnover low

The Athex composite share price index closed last Thursday at 4,693.44 points, just 2 percentage points off the sixand-a-half-year high it reached in late February. The market was closed Friday and yesterday for the Easter holiday. Turnover declined to 1.35 billion, an average of 336.42 million per session, from 453.32 million the previous week. According to experts, there are grounds for believing the market will go over 5,000 points, as several mergers are expected in sectors such as banks, energy, construction, metals, passenger shipping and refineries. Despite much reduced investor interest ahead of the holiday, there were several significant developments last week, chief among them a US acquisition by cement maker Titan, the sale of Loulis Millsí installations in Albania, Bulgaria and Romania, and the annual meetings of Alpha Bank, EFG Eurobank and Piraeus Bank. Titan America, Titanís US subsidiary, announced the acquisition of a 100 percent stake in limestone mining company Cumberland Quarry in Salem, Kentucky, for $36 million. Alpha Bank Chairman Yiannis Kostopoulos told shareholders that he expected ìpositiveî first-quarter results, adding that Alpha was not considering any strategic partnership or merger with another bank. He also said that he considered Alphaís capital adequacy to be at a very good level, quashing rumors about a possible capital increase. EFG Eurobank CEO Nikos Nanopoulos said the bank was set to enjoy healthy profitability over several years thanks to its focus on investments abroad. Nanopoulos estimated that Eurobankís profits from its international activities would reach 260 million in 2009. (Due to a technical problem, the figures in the tables below are for the period 29/3/07 to 5/4/07, unless otherwise indicated.)

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