Low rates support equities rally

Recent gains recorded in European equity markets, including the Athens bourse, is due to increased levels of liquidity resulting from low interest rates, Hellenic Exchanges CEO Spyros Capralos said yesterday. The Athens bourse’s benchmark general index has gained 51 percent in the last six months, outperforming its major European peers. Germany’s DAX has gained 27 percent over the same period while London’s FTSE 100 index has advanced 30 percent. Meanwhile, the Athens bourse plans to launch its X-Net platform next month, a project that will offer international investors access to the stock markets of the Balkan region via the Greek market. «Greece’s exchange is investing to strengthen its network, offering fast and low-fee securities transactions in international markets,» said Capralos. The Hellenic Exchanges CEO said the measures were to address a significant increase in competition between European stock exchanges following a European directive to open up the sector two years ago. Through X-Net, investors will be able to place orders online to all markets in the region, routed through Athens stock exchange members and banks. Starting with a pilot phase in November, X-Net will offer access to the Greek and Cypriot stock markets and some other regional markets including Serbia, Albania, Bosnia, Egypt and Jordan. The platform will be fully operational in the first quarter of 2010.