Elections unlikely to halt market rally

National elections this weekend and a possible change in government aren’t likely to halt a rally in Greek stocks this year, the head of the Athens Exchange (ATHEX) said yesterday. «Both parties are pro-market and I don’t see any significant change in the policies regarding capital markets,» said Spyros Kapralos, chairman of the exchange, in an interview with Bloomberg Television yesterday. «I think the market will remain strong, with a lot of interest coming from outside Greece.» The benchmark ATHEX index rose 47 percent this year, the second-best performance among Western European stock market gauges. Foreign investors have also been strengthening their positions in Greek companies. Foreign portfolios owned 48.4 percent of the Greek market’s free-float in August, up from 48.1 percent in July and 48 percent in June, according to data from the Athens bourse. Kapralos made the disclosure this week that the Athens and Istanbul stock exchanges plan to create an index of the two bourses’ 30 biggest companies to boost trading on the region’s two largest stock markets. Plans to create exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, on the basis of the index in each market will provide additional opportunities for investors, he said. The Greece & Turkey 30 Index, by STOXX Limited, will comprise 15 of the biggest and most heavily traded companies from each market.