ECONOMY

Mid-caps cut index losses

No market has emerged unscathed from the global credit crisis and Athens is unavoidably following the trend, as the high returns generated over the last three years are now being cashed in. The Athens Stock Exchange (ATHEX) general index posted a marginal decline of 0.05 percent over the previous week, dropping to 3,924.37 points on Friday from 3,926.19 points the previous week. The index was driven by mid-caps, which outperformed over the week with a rise of 0.92 percent week-on-week, while the small-caps index declined by 0.22 percent. The domestic market, due to a lack of support from absent local investors, has been dragged into a maelstrom of pressure due to the crisis triggered by the US subprime mortgage market. The capitalization of the Athens bourse has shrunk from -196 billion at the start of the new financial year to just -151 billion now. Hellenic Exchanges data for February showed that the participation of foreign portfolios in Greek stocks has declined by 0.5 percent, dropping to 50.8 percent from 51.3 percent in January 2008. There was also an outflow of foreign investment capital amounting to -104.5 million. In the negative climate created domestically by ongoing industrial action in various sectors, the market did have some positive news. Namely the continuation of Sidenor’s major investment at Almyros in central Greece; Duty Free Shops’s distribution of a dividend of -0.66 per share for 2007 and an increase of 13.3 percent in net group profits for S&B Industrial Minerals last year, rising to -26.7 million.