Imported angst takes its toll

Greek stocks headed south last week, in line with bourses abroad where the continuing crisis emanating from the US subprime market was taking its toll. The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index closed at 5,096.04 points on Friday, a loss of 52.09, or 1.01 percent for the week. Small-caps took the brunt of liquidations, the FTSE/ATHEX Small-Cap 80 index ending 4.17 percent trimmer. The FTSE/ATHEX Mid 40 was 2.71 percent leaner and the blue chip FTSE/ATHEX 20 dropped 1.34 percent. Chemicals was the worst-affected sectoral index, losing 7.38 percent. Raw materials was 5.40 percent down and utilities shed 4.55 percent. Banks lost 2.12 percent. Last week’s business developments included insurance group Koumpas’s acquisition of a stake in food group Vivartia, and the announcement that Unilever would de-list its food subsidiary Elais from the ATHEX in the new year, after a 66-year presence. Speaking to investors in New York, ATHEX President Spyros Kapralos announced that in 2008 the bourse will complete checks on the systems of two large international investment brokerages which will be accredited as distant members. He also said ATHEX is interested in participating in the tender for the privatization of the exchange of Ljubljana, Slovenia, in 2008, as well as in the privatization of «the Sofia bourse whenever it takes place.» Analysts said investors will be keenly expecting new postings of nine-month results of ATHEX-listed companies this week, as the volatility of the market renders short-term movements unpredictable. Results announced to date show an average 32 percent increase year-on-year.