ECONOMY

ATHEX worst off among peers

The Greek bourse has recorded the worst performance among mature markets across the world in the first five months of the year, posting a decline of over 22 percent on its general index. The Athens Exchange has taken a strong beating, mostly from the approximately 300 foreign funds that are active in the local market, as the high returns of the last three years have made it a target for liquidation as funds seek to offset losses of billions of euros due to the international subprime mortgage crisis. With a drop of 22.04 percent, ATHEX has underperformed all of the larger markets in the world, with the Dow Jones falling by 12.36 percent in New York over the January-May period, the DAX in Frankfurt dropping 13.66 percent and the FTSE index in London declining by 13.01 percent. Obviously the soaring price of oil has not helped either. The only mature markets to have remained on a positive course in the first five months of the year have been those of Milan (up 15.12 percent) and Oslo (2.33 percent). Emerging markets have also suffered losses, with the exception of the markets of Brazil and Morocco. The markets of Central and Eastern Europe have been hit particularly hard, incurring heavy losses, such as that of Istanbul (37 percent), Sofia (31 percent) and Bucharest (26.5 percent). As of last Monday, Morgan Stanley applied a six-month adjustment of global indices. For Greece, in particular, Morgan Stanley Capital International has composed the MSCI Greece index for high- and medium-capitalization stocks. This index, according to representatives of major stockbrokerages in Greece and abroad, is a point of reference for all investment funds that either are positioned in Greece or intend to get involved with the local market in the future. Morgan Stanley compiled the index by choosing stocks based on their capitalization; some choices may seem original but they were compulsory as they comprise a sector by themselves. Another parameter considered during the selection has been the dispersal of a company’s stock.