ECONOMY

News from Europe takes bourse higher

The decisions made by the European Central Bank to continue to lend to Greek banks after 2010 and by the European Council to offer Greece a safety net along with the International Monetary Fund provided a considerable boost to the local bourse, with banks securing the greatest gains, while the general turnover of the market also improved. The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index closed the week on Friday at 2,147.83 points, recording a 4.80 percent rise over the previous week’s close at 2,049.36 points. Until late last Wednesday, the climate on the local bourse had been negative but Thursday’s developments changed everything, with the banks’ sectoral index gaining 8.58 percent week-on-week. Still, the outlook remains negative, as sources have been suggesting that many listed companies intend to cut costs and are even considering three or four-day weeks for their staff. The atmosphere is particularly negative at banks as well, as they have frozen the flow of credit to enterprises in order to avoid further bad loans and in order to ensure the development of their own projects.