ECONOMY

Moody investors set to leave ATHEX

Four out of five sessions last week saw a decline for Greek stocks, forcing the main index to fall to a six-year low. The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index closed at 1,601.23 points, posting a significant 7.34 percent decline on the the previous week’s close. International hedge funds have been looking for an excuse to complete their flight from the Greek bourse and they found it at the start of last week with a report issued by Moody’s. The international firm’s intention to downgrade the credit rating of any European banks active in Eastern Europe sent shock waves through Greek banks. Aggressive selling of National Bank and Coca-Cola Hellenic stocks reminded observers of the dramatic days last fall. Economy Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou’s statement about banning the distribution of dividends in the form of cash and banks purchasing their own shares, as included in the 28-billion-euro package, is likely to turn foreign investors to industrial stocks. At least a Citigroup report finds the local bourse the most attractive in Europe regarding the price-per-earnings ratio.