ECONOMY

Market shows lack of vigor

Greek stocks showed signs of fatigue in the first week of May, apparently unable to follow the positive mood prevailing in other European bourses. The lackluster performance is partly attributed to the absence of any weighty business news and the political upheaval in Turkey, which has impacted Greek firms with a sizeable presence there, such as National Bank. The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index closed 0.06 percent higher on Friday than a week earlier, at 4,795.37 points. The FTSE/ATHEX 20 blue chip index was down 0.52 percent at 2,548.67 points, the FTSE/ATHEX Mid-40 nudged 0.16 percent higher and the FTSE/ATHEX 80 small-cap index ended 0.31 percent lower. Foreign investors appeared to be waiting for the full picture of listed firms’ first-quarter results, which must be announced by May 31. In addition to an inflow of fresh capital, the ATHEX needs concrete business deals in several sectors where talks among majority shareholders have been ongoing in recent months. According to Vassilis Vlastarakis, head of analysis at Beta Securities, stock markets are facing a number of risks. In particular, he cited the overheating of the economies of emerging countries such as China and India, coupled with strong demand for metals, which has resulted in speculators pushing up prices to historic highs. He argues that bourses’ continuous gains over the last four years, in conjunction with rising commodity prices, are pushing speculative capital in the direction of assuming increasingly higher investment risks to secure attractive returns. Weekly turnover totaled -1,420.87 million in the four-session week (due to the May 1 holiday), a daily average of -355.2 million, against -369.4 million in the previous week.