ECONOMY

Rebound trims November loss

The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) did not escape the upheavals in international markets which made November the gloomiest month of 2007. The US subprime loans crisis continues to send shock waves through the large financial organizations that had sizable exposure to it, resulting in losses of billions of dollars in their nine-month reports. Although Greek banks were in no way exposed to subprime loans, the upheavals erased more than -30 billion from ATHEX’s capitalization up to a week ago. In the last week of the month, however, the Greek market recouped some of the earlier losses, with the benchmark index closing at 5,053.87 points on Friday, a gain of 2.60 percent in five sessions. Heavyweight banks and utilities played a prominent role in the rebound, their respective sectoral indices ending 5.24 percent and 9.12 percent higher. Food & beverages and health also gained 7.07 percent and 6.17 percent respectively. The bank surge coincided with the reporting once again of outstanding profit performance in their nine-month results. Bellwether National Bank reported an all-time Greek record of -1.3 billion, above market expectations, with its Turkish subsidiary accounting for 26 percent of this. The results included the sale of the bank’s stake in cement industry Heracles and its contribution to farmers stricken by devastating fires last summer. On the whole, ATHEX appears to be continuing to enjoy the confidence of foreign investment banks, which are estimated to have maintained their shares in the total capitalization.