ECONOMY

Index rises to 92-month high

The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index closed with a gain of 1.47 percent for the week on Friday, at 5,198.80 points – a 92-month high, after six straight winning sessions. This was also the 9th year-high. Mid- and small-caps continued attracting strong interest. The blue chip FTSE/ATHEX 20 was up 1.60 percent, the FTSE/ATHEX Mid-Cap 40 gained 2.81 percent and the FTSE/ATHEX Small-Cap 80 was 2.77 percent higher. The majority acquisition of shipping firm Attica Holdings by Marfin Investment Group last week fuelled yet more rumors of business deals, maintaining the upbeat market sentiment. Further, the relative lack of volatility gave investors the opportunity for restructuring their portfolios and profit-taking. However, stockbrokers were not too happy about the decline in turnover, which fell from an average daily of -623 million in the previous week to -555 million. Piraeus Mutual Fund Company said in an analysis that the global economy was not yet quite out of the credit crunch and that the uncertainty may continue for a few more weeks. The Greek market is now significantly different from what it was in 1999, when the general index had climbed to the all-time high of 6,335 points. Since 2003, it has been dominated by foreign institutional investors, and has witnessed the development of a cycle which has brought new leading players to the fore and cast aside those who did not put to good use the capital raised. At the same time, however, the market has developed into a three-tier one in terms of turnover: The main banks, other blue chips and a number of mid-caps, and the small capitalizations, respectively.