Foreign investors looking for profits

Foreign investors returned to the Greek bourse last week, after having left in droves, especially during the last quarter of last year. The return brought considerable gains and new optimism to the local market. The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index closed the week on Friday at 2,151.40 points, recording a 4.76 percent rise from the previous week’s closure. April data revealed on Thursday showed that, for the first time in eight months, foreign investors have become net buyers again, with their share of the market’s total capitalization climbing to 47.2 percent from 46.9 percent in March. A year ago (April 2008), foreigners accounted for 50.5 percent of the bourse’s capitalization. The boost that foreign investors have given to the banking sector and the growth of the last five sessions both illustrate how easy it is for many stocks to be manipulated, as low marketability is the main weakness of the Greek bourse. It is clear that the rally seen since March 9 is not based on fundamentals or business news, but is purely due to profiteering.

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