State-controlled firms in spotlight

Greek equities may be headed for volatile trade this week, as the country’s fiscal woes are expected to continue to weigh on market sentiment. Banks, which have lost 23 percent in just the last month, have come under selling pressure on concerns that government measures to boost tax revenues will put the brakes on Greece’s growth prospects, harming profit for lenders. Brokers said investors will also be keeping a close eye on state-controlled companies listed on the Athens bourse after Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou said last week that the government will aim for privatization revenues of 2.5 billion euros in 2010. The minister did not name which companies will be included in the state sell-off program. On Friday, state-controlled lenders ATEbank and Hellenic Postbank outperformed, jumping 4.42 percent and 5.21 percent respectively. The benchmark general index eased 1.23 percent to 2,168.43 points, trimming weekly gains to 0.36 percent.

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