ECONOMY

ASE rises once again

The Athens Stock Exchange general index gained 68.71 points, or 2.96 percent last week to close at 2,389.52 points. Total trading amounted to 659.7 million euros, an average of 131.9 million per session. All Financial Times indices ended with gains. The biggest were posted by the FTSE/ASE mid-cap 40 (3.60 percent), followed by the FTSE/ASE-20 blue chip index (3.19 percent) and the FTSE/ASE small-cap 80 (2.78 percent). All sectoral indices ended with gains, even insurance, which edged up a meager 0.08 percent. Textiles showed the biggest gains (6.66 percent), followed by retail commerce (5.66 percent), investment (5.22 percent) and refineries (4.70 percent). Among a total of 370 shares traded, 284 ended with gains, 68 fell and 18 remained unchanged. Axon Holdings led individual gainers, rising 43.64 percent; it was followed by the preferred share (PR, 90) of passenger shipper ANEK (33.33 percent) and Keranis Holding (27.19 percent), Douros (24.55 percent), Euromedica (23.61 percent) and Lampsa (19.85 percent). Among the losers, Allatini Ceramics was hit hardest, falling 16.29 percent. Rainbow Computer (11.53 percent) was the other share with a double-digit fall. The preferred shares of Cor-Fil dropped 7.75 percent. OTE Telecom was the most heavily traded stock, averaging 6.77 million euros per session; it was followed by National Bank, at 6.35 million. The most important risk has to do with the lack of experience in asset management locally. It is well known that asset management is a relatively new area for Greek banks and therefore they do not have either the track record or the appropriate personnel in sufficient numbers to assume such a role. Realizing the apparent limitations, some of them have tried to deal with this problem by teaming up with well-known foreign names. Even so, this looks to be more of a window-dressing effort than anything else, especially when it comes to investing in the local markets where their foreign partners have little or no prior experience whatsoever.