ECONOMY

Index above 5,100 points

Bulls got the better of bears on the Athens bourse in the second week of July, taking the general index to successive seven-year highs, starting on Monday. Having already broken through 5,000 points on the previous Friday, the index continued its ascent on Monday but scaled back down on Tuesday and Wednesday, due to the euro’s new historic high against the dollar, fired by jitters on the US subprime housing loan market. At the same time, speculation in oil derivatives brought the price of brent to new historic highs, causing concern among the hawks of the European Central Bank that new basic rate hikes might be needed to prevent a rekindling of inflation. But a reawakening of the banking sector pulled the index back above 5,000 points on Thursday. The market seemed to have refound its vigor on the successful 20 percent placement of the Postal Savings Bank, the debut of Aegean Airlines in the top capitalization category and the favorable development of the 817-million share capital increase of Alapis. Continuing its ascent, the index broke through the 5,100-point barrier on Friday, closing at 5,104.23, a gain of 2.06 percent for the week. Utilities led sectoral indices with a surge of 6.72 percent, chemicals followed with 3.31 percent, banks and telecoms rose 2.66 percent and 2.79 percent respectively. According to data announced by the Athens Depositary for June, a total of -5.74 billion in foreign funds flowed into the Athens Exchange in the first half of the year, while the reverse flow out of the country into foreign capital markets was put at -6.34 billion.