ECONOMY

Moderate gains for bourse’s blue chips

Stocks registered moderate gains over the past week, although investor sentiment generally remains negative and more losses are anticipated in the new week. The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index posted a 4.77 percent weekly rise, closing on Friday at 1,913.52 points. However, it should also be noted that the mid-cap FTSE/ATHEX 40 index posted a weekly decline of 0.29 percent. November saw stocks continuing their decline, as the main index slid by 7.12 percent. Despite the uncertainty, analysts suggest that the crisis is also creating some opportunities, as the capitalization of the stock market as a ratio of gross domestic product (GDP) is at about 33 percent, the lowest level since 1997, while the dividend returns of the top 20 companies are expected to exceed 5 percent, despite the negative climate. Sectoral indices showed some dramatic shifts last week, with utilities gaining a considerable 17.54 percent, although commerce stocks registered a decline of 4.52 percent.