Global worries rattle market

The unstable international climate that has shaken global markets and the rising prices of oil, as well as worries of a possible recession in the US, have sent shock waves through the Athens market. The Athens Stock Exchange general index (ATHEX) lost 0.78 percent of its value over the past week, closing at 5,112.22 points on Friday down from 5,152.16 points the week before. However during the week the index had climbed above the 5,200-point mark. The only main stock index to post a rise last week was the FTSE/ASE 80 of small-caps, which registered gains of 0.27 percent. The week was dominated by the impressive performance of state companies such as the Athens and Thessaloniki water firms (EYDAP and EYATH) and the port authorities of Piraeus and Thessaloniki. The question now is whether Athens will suffer the so-called «January effect,» after four consecutive years of improvement for the main index, as general conditions at this time of year are very different: In the first two months of 2008 the full extent of the subprime crisis in the US will become evident, along with the real side effects on international markets. Consequently the favorable effect of this month, when the groundwork for the new year is laid, may not suffice this time as markets continue to shake; Greece’s dependence on the global system is almost total, with particular dependence on the Frankfurt market, analysts suggest.