ECONOMY

Banking stocks take index to new depths

The constant selling of bank shares has taken the Greek bourse down to levels unseen since April 2003, revealing the further problems of the market. There are no buyers; the same funds are being recycled over and over and investors’ trust is lacking. The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index closed on Friday at 1,663.39 points, which was 4.95 percent below the previous week’s close. Banks are the weakest link on the market: After foreign investors liquidated Greek shares worth 3.5 billion euros in 2008, they now have a clear strategy – to exhaust the limits of profiteering on the daily sessions by fully controlling the fluctuations they generate on the market via derivatives. The week was dominated by two negative reports by UBS and Deutsche Bank. The two foreign banking firms estimate that insecurity in Southeastern Europe will affect Greek banks considerably. A foreign report on Thursday stated that seven European banks, including Greece’s Eurobank EFG, have asked the European Central Bank to secure economic stability in the Southeast European emerging markets.