ECONOMY

Index jumps above 4,800

Greek stocks rebounded last week, as jitters on global stock markets, emanating from the US subprime crisis, subsided after efforts by central banks to bolster liquidity seemed to assuage investors. The volatility lessened and the fluctuations of the Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index remained around 50 points throughout the week. Two particularly good sessions on Wednesday and Thursday led the index again above 4,800 points after nine sessions. It closed at 4,800.40 points on Friday, up 2.61 percent for the week. Banks and the Public Power Corporation (PPC) spearheaded the rebound, led by National Bank, which surged 3.48 percent on Wednesday. PPC skyrocketed more than 7 percent on Tuesday and 4 percent on Thursday, following a positive report by JP Morgan, which, in an impressive turnaround, set a price target of -30 to overweight, from a previous one of -15.86 to underweight in early April. The investment bank based the upgrade on the view that «the prospect of the re-election of the present government» will speed up the privatization program of the country’s main power producer. Market watchers said JP Morgan is likely eyeing a part in the privatization as lead manager. PPC fell 1.62 percent to -22.40 on Friday. Separately, Deutsche Bank singled out Marfin Popular Bank (MPB) as a top choice among European, and the only one among Greek, banks in a recent report. Deutsche retained a price target of -13 for MPB, with a buy recommendation, noting its strong financial base and no exposure to the US subprime loan assets. It projected an average annual rise in profit per share of 45 percent for the 2006-2009 period.