ECONOMY

Slide continues as system fails

The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) benchmark index shed 206.84 points, or 5 percent, last week, closing at 3.926.19 on Friday. The bourse was shut down last week on Tuesday and Wednesday and operated for reduced hours on Monday and Thursday due to a strike by Bank of Greece employees that caused the country’s payments system to fail. Turnover did not fall appreciably, considering the circumstances, averaging 401.26 million euros per session against 458.33 million euros the week before. Nevertheless, the overall cost of the breakdown of the country’s payments system on the bourse will need time to be assessed, as it may have driven foreign investors away for good. Because of the strike, investors could not receive the money due from the transactions made the previous week. ATHEX President Spyros Kapralos made serious efforts for the market to reopen and on Thursday apologized to investors for the inconvenience, a gesture that one would have more appropriately expected from the Bank of Greece, which was responsible for the blackout of the system. All sectoral indices ended in negative territory last week. Technology slumped 10.6 percent, financial services plunged 9.8 percent and raw materials tumbled 8.5 percent. Separately, in a report the Capital Market Commission attributed responsibility to one executive of technology retail firm Germanos and two employees of Eurobank Securities for manipulating the company’s stock when it was majority acquired by mobile telephony operator Cosmote in 2006.