ECONOMY

Roller-coaster week in losses

After a week that has tested the nerves of investors with its extreme fluctuations, Greek stocks are bracing for more swings inflicted by a stormy period on global markets. The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index closed the week at 4,516.81 points, down 1.53 percent from Friday’s previous 4,587.09 points. The strong correction on Thursday, which saw a rise of 8 percent and was the highest daily rise in over 10 years on the Athens market, was not enough to recover those loses registered in the first three days of the week, which has seen virtually all of last year’s gains wiped out. Expectations on world markets for a fresh slide in key US interest rates by another 50 basis points have made smiles return to the faces of traders and investors. The local bourse has seen a significant decline since the start of the year, with losses to the general index reaching 15 percent and capitalization dropping by -25 billion, while the majority of stocks is at a 12-month low. Stockbrokers told Kathimerini that the culmination of the international crisis, due to trouble with US subprime mortgage loans, will make foreign portfolios consider using some of the over 51 percent of the Greek market to reinforce their defenses against the strong fluctuations. This high volatility means markets from now on will have no set direction as there are extremes in both in rises and slides. This has also meant a freeze in business deals, as heavy losses generally tend to work against corporate moves. This was also evident last week, a poor one in corporate news.