ECONOMY

Greek stocks jump 8 percent in highest one-day gain for 10 years

The Athens bourse jumped 8 percent yesterday, boosted by improved sentiment on European bourses, in its highest one-day gain in more than 10 years. A report from a leading Greek bank pointed out that turmoil on international markets is likely to provide the domestic economy with a boost. The heavyweight bank index soared 9.13 percent, led by a 10.5 percent jump in National Bank, Greece’s largest company in terms of market capitalization. The Athens bourse’s benchmark general index broke a three-session losing streak yesterday, ending at 4,426.53 points. Greek stocks had lost 10 percent this week after recording on Monday their largest slide since September 2001. Among the day’s biggest winners was public utility Public Power Corporation and Hellenic Exchanges, which jumped 13.16 percent and 11.11 percent respectively. Gains of more than 4.5 percent in European stocks helped cheer local investors as talk of bailing US bond insurers boosted global equity sentiment. Alpha Bank said in its weekly report that Greek lenders are not exposed to the subprime crisis in the US market, as are some of their European peers. «The emerging drop in international interest rates and petrol prices along with a stop to the euro’s rise… has resulted in favorable consequences for Greece,» said Alpha Bank. «(These factors) help in a continuation of the economy’s dynamic growth in coming years due to a lower current account deficit and containment of inflation due to lower petrol prices,» it added. Greece’s economy is heavily dependent on oil imports and exposed to high fuel price risks. The country’s consumer price index was unchanged in December at 3.9 percent year-on-year. A drop in short-term interest rates, following a 75-basis point rate cut by the US Federal Reserve earlier this week, is also seen as helping the government lower interest payments on its massive debt. [email protected]