Eyes on OTE as blue chips drop

Developments at OTE telecom monopolized investors’ interest in May’s first week. As negotiations continued between the state and Deutsche Telekom concerning the Greek utility’s management, the local market shook off most pressures from abroad and registered losses only in blue chips. The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index closed the week at 4,205.90 points last Friday, down by 2.27 percent from the previous week’s close of 4,303.77 points. The Greek bourse has also focused on the tenders for the container operations of Piraeus and Thessaloniki ports and the first-quarter financial results of listed companies, which are expected this month up to May 31. The market can gain some ground if transaction volume grows stronger, since it has been quite subdued since the start of the year. This is clearly attributed to the international credit crisis, which remains the biggest risk for markets. Another reason cited is the increase in off-exchange transactions. Last week saw the publication of the Q1 results of EFG Eurobank, which posted a 6 percent rise in profits, although analysts had expected a greater increase. Emporiki Bank’s results were disappointing as they showed heavy losses, while Coca-Cola HBC registered an 11 percent rise in profits in the January-March period. Foreign institutional investors were net sellers during April, although their share remained stable at 50.5 percent of total capitalization, according to Hellenic Exchanges data.