ECONOMY

ATHEX reaches 96-month high

Greek stocks rose to a 96-month high on Wednesday, with the Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index closing at 5,334.50. This also propelled total capitalization to the historic high of -220 billion. After strong pressure on Thursday, however, as more foreign banking giants announced results showing they had been seriously affected by exposure to US subprime loans, the index closed the week on Friday with gains of only 0.20 percent, at 5,284.20. Analysts said the strong nine-month results announced by banks Eurobank, Alpha and Piraeus set the momentum. Hellenic Exchanges, the parent holding company of ATHEX, also reported a rise in profit of 55 percent, year-on-year, to -60 million. Consolidated turnover was up a hefty 35 percent to 117.5 million. Separately, Britain’s Lansdowne Partners announced it had bought 9.67 percent of Piraeus Port Authority shares. The company, which is considered one of the very few investment companies whose position was not affected by the collapse of Northern Rock bank, now manages 13 investment funds, focusing on the British and European markets. The ATHEX and the Financial Times Share Index (FTSE) company announced their six-monthly restructuring of indices. Marfin Investment Group will be included on the blue chip ATHEX/FTSE 20 index, Alapis and Aegean Airlines on the ATHEX/FTSE Mid-Cap 40, while Emporiki Bank, Heracles Cement, Hellenic Duty Free Shops, Lampsa, Vassilopoulos, Pantechniki, Korres, Parnassos, Attica Publications, Kardassilaris, Multirama and Centric Multimedia are to go on the FTSE/ATHEX Small-Cap 80.