ECONOMY

Index records 86-month high

The first nine months of the year closed on the Greek bourse with a fresh seven-year high for the general index and measured euphoria following the recent general elections. The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index closed on Friday at 5,123.36 points, up 2.54 percent from the previous week’s close at 4,996.48 points. In the 10 sessions since the September 16 election, the index has gained more than 5 percent, while the rise since the start of the year has exceeded 15 percent. The main factors for the recent gains are the vote of confidence by foreign investment funds in the Karamanlis government for the continuation and acceleration of privatizations, for the speeding up of developments at OTE telecom, as the resignation of Cosmote’s head Evangelos Martigopoulos is paving the way for the full merger of the two companies, and for the reactivation of local private and institutional investors, as, since August, there has been plenty of selective placements in small-caps and mid-caps. The improvement of the business climate in Europe and America along with the advent of new mergers and business deals have also helped. Stock market experts suggest that the Athens market will seek its direction by following the course of international markets and the developments at the various listed state companies, such as the Piraeus and Thessaloniki port authorities and the water utilities of EYDAP and EYATH. The question of finding a strategic investor for power utility PPC remains open. As of today, Aluminium of Greece and Delta Project cease trading in the bourse, following their full absorption by parent company Mytilineos.