Foreign players up stake in 09

Foreign investors increased their positions on the Athens bourse in 2009 despite selling equities worth 360 million euros in the last month of the year, according to data presented yesterday. Hellenic Exchanges (HE-LEX), the holding group that operates the Athens stock and derivatives markets, said foreign investors held 48.5 percent of total shares at the end of 2009, up from 47.9 percent at the start of the year. The Athens bourse’s benchmark general index ended 2009 with gains of 23 percent, its best annual performance since 2005. In the month of December, Greek investors poured an additional 336 million euros into equities, boosting their holdings in local stocks to 50.2 percent, from 49.5 percent at the end of November. Earlier this month, HELEX CEO Spyros Capralos said the Greek government needs to take steps to improve the country’s credibility during the fiscal crisis in order to help draw back foreign players reluctant to invest in Greece.

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