ECONOMY

Quiet week ends with rise

Suffering from a lack of fresh cash, the week before Easter moved at a particularly slow pace, with the anticipation of the holidays working against any significant moves among investors. The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index closed the four-day week at 4,061.24 points last Thursday, up 2.41 percent on the previous week’s close of 3,965.75 points. Foreign institutional investors appear to have exhausted their sale potential for April, so they are now moving at a more moderate pace with sporadic sales in blue chips and mid-caps. Greek bankers and business circles are now hoping that markets will recover from the systemic dangers provoked by the international subprime mortgage crisis. The interest of local investors is turning to the start of dividend distributions by banks, while from May 2 the first-quarter results of listed companies listed will begin to be published. The first indications point to a small decline in profits compared with the first three months of 2007. In a report issued last week, the country’s top stockbrokerage, National P&K Securities, made a downward revision of target prices for Greek stocks, arguing that there is limited margin for a further decline while «any rise will require time to materialize.» Separately, a survey by Ernst & Young showed that Greece can play a leading role as a regional hub in Southeastern Europe, although it has so far failed to attract sufficient foreign direct investment. The country’s comparative advantages include its telecommunications and transport infrastructures, political stability and also availability and quality in the area of research and development.