January effect misses a turn

The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) benchmark shed 1.78 percent last week, to close at 4,436.36 points on Friday. In January as a whole, the index lost 16.23 percent and the bourse’s total capitalization declined from -196 billion to -171 billion. The international credit crisis has left no market unaffected and, given Athens’s strong performance in the last three years, it was not surprising to see it sustaining heavy liquidations. Minoan Lines was the only share among blue chips and mid-caps to end in positive territory in January, with a gain of 1.6 percent, according to data by Pegasus Stockbrokers. All sectoral indices headed south, with raw materials heading decliners with 23.23 percent, followed by technology with 19 percent and industry with 18.52 percent. The heavyweight banking index shed 17.22 percent. Metals group Mytilineos was the heaviest blue chip loser, with 31.8 percent. Viohalco followed with 29.4 percent and Marfin Popular Bank with 26.4 percent. Titan Cement, ATEbank and the Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company lost the least. Five small-caps held their own: Viosol’s common and preferred stock, Petzetakis, which rebounded after its recent long-term debt rescheduling, ANEK’s preferred stock and Evrofarma. Alumil, which ended a roadshow in London on Friday, says it expects its subsidiaries in the Balkans, Russia and the Middle East to contribute 52 percent of consolidated profits in 2008. Brokers said it looked rather doubtful whether ATHEX will be able to retain the 4,400-point level, due to the absence of domestic investors while foreigners are liquidating.