ECONOMY

Low volume shows frailty of ATHEX

Action on the Athens Exchange (ATHEX) this week was marked by poor cash flow, fresh selling by foreign hedge funds and a lack of direction. The ATHEX general index barely managed to stay above the 2,000-point level, with a weekly drop of 4.75 percent, closing Friday at 2,007.09 points. Turnover continued to sink during the week, illustrating that the bourse remains in the category of emerging markets that are known for the shallowness of their transactions. In last Wednesday and Thursday’s sessions, just three stocks (National Bank, OTE and Alpha Bank) accounted for almost 70 percent of all transactions. There is a considerable lack of buyers for medium- and small-capitalization shares, as well as a drop in their marketability and the indifference of both investors and main shareholders. The local market is currently at a most difficult phase, as the international negative climate determines the moves of foreign investment funds, which dominate daily transactions on the bourse, with a market share of just under 60 percent since the start of the year.