ECONOMY

Mood shifts as buyers emerge

The Athens stock market benefited significantly last week from the five-day holiday period as sessions during the final week of March brought in fresh buyers, just like in the majority of European markets. The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index closed the week at 3,973.69 points against 3,760.79 the previous week, a rise of 5.66 percent. All three sessions of the past week saw an increase for the general index, changing the mood that had prevailed in previous weeks. The Greek bourse has suffered heavy losses since the start of 2008 and the pressures on the majority of local stocks have never been greater. The banking sector has in the last five months been in the focus of major foreign investors who want to increase their cash flow and cover the considerable loss of capital from the international crisis. The most important domestic events were the 2007 results published by many listed companies. At the same time, the administration of Hellenic Exchanges SA, which is trying to increase the competitiveness and transparency of the market, has proceeded to implement a series of measures such as extra-market transactions through the data feed of the stock market company with an annual cost of 3,600 euros per member, for up to 1,000 notifications. There is also the option for investors to borrow shares on the stock market following the implementation of the new institutional framework of the Capital Market Commission on the liberalization of borrowing operations. There will be a charge of 35 euros per transaction.