Athens, Istanbul bourses eye joint index

The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) is examining setting up a common index with its counterpart in Istanbul in a bid to boost its competitiveness, the Greek bourse said yesterday. ATHEX Chairman Spyros Capralos met with Istanbul Stock Exchange (ISE) CEO Huseyin Erkan in Athens where they discussed setting up a joint index for the purpose of launching a common exchange traded fund (ETF) able to be accessed by both markets. «The exchange industry worldwide is changing at a very rapid pace and we have to adapt to the new developments in order to respond to increasing competition,» Capralos said. In a move aimed at helping to draw more liquidity to the market, the Athens bourse launched a common trading platform with the Cyprus Stock Exchange in October 2006. «The prospect of cooperation between ATHEX and the ISE will provide new investment opportunities, improve liquidity and strengthen the capital markets of the two countries,» said Erkan. ATHEX said a follow-up meeting will be held in Istanbul to continue talks but gave no further details. Hellenic Exchanges, the holding group that operates the Athens bourse, has a market capitalization of some 654 million euros. Its shares have dropped almost 60 percent over the last 12 months versus a 31 percent drop on the Athens bourse’s benchmark general index.