Fiscal news holds key to equity mood

Investors on the Athens bourse will be keeping an eye out for news of Greece’s fiscal woes, which have played a key role in shaping equity market sentiment at home and abroad. Speculation as to whether Greece will default as well as news of the government borrowing money at a higher cost have fueled selling pressure on stocks, particularly those of banks. Analysts said higher borrowing costs for the government are likely to result in higher funding expenses for lenders, whose shares have lost 35 percent over the last three months. On Friday, the Athens bourse’s benchmark general index added 3.15 percent to 2,048.32 points but ended 6.7 percent in the red for January. In the event that sentiment supports further rises, brokers see the 2,100-2,140 point mark as being the next resistance level for the general index. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 53 points Friday to close the month down 3.5 percent. Investors, increasingly uneasy about the US economy and earnings, have been pulling money out of the market over the past week.

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