ECONOMY

In Brief

Stocks post rise but turnover gets weaker The local stock market continued to rise for the second day in succession yesterday, although turnover remained below 100 million euros. The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index closed at 1,476.47 points, increasing by 1 percent from Wednesday’s close at 1,461.83 points. The blue chip FTSE/ATHEX 20 index rose by 0.71 percent to end up at 703.92 points. However the mid-cap and small-cap indexes posted marginal losses (0.11 percent and 0.24 percent respectively). Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones by just four (88 vs 84), while 59 remained unchanged. The lack of quality buyers and the state of the bourse’s driving force, the stock of National Bank, are worrying observers. This is also illustrated by the reduction in turnover, which yesterday reached just 98.2 million euros. National Bank dropped 1.55 percent, while OTE telecom lost 1.75 percent. Intralot was the worst off among blue chips with a 3.65 percent drop. On the other hand, Motor Oil outperformed blue chips with 6 percent growth, followed by Coca-Cola HBC (up 4.26 percent) and Marfin Investment Group (4 percent). Agency says Greek default not inevitable LONDON (Reuters) – Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s does not consider that a Greek debt default in the near term and a breakup of the eurozone are inevitable, a senior official said yesterday. David Beers, head of sovereign ratings, told the Reuters Investment Outlook Summit in London that a European Union and International Monetary Fund rescue package for Greece had bought the country time to convince markets it was sorting out its fiscal problems. «There’s nothing particularly inevitable about Greece defaulting in the near term,» Beers said, pointing to the EU/IMF rescue package. «So Greece has the space and time to show the market and also its own people… that it is implementing a [fiscal] plan.» S&P downgraded Greek debt to junk status toward the end of April and also cut ratings for Portugal and Spain in swift moves that weighed on the euro. Beers said S&P was not as pessimistic about the eurozone as some in the market. «We are at this delicate period where it’s very easy to be hugely pessimistic and of course if S&P shared that degree of pessimism, our ratings of the eurozone would be uniformly much lower than they are right now.» Greece exposure Deutsche Bank AG has gross exposure of 27.6 billion euros ($33.3 billion) to Italy, 20.6 billion euros to Spain, 2.5 billion euros to Portugal, 2.6 billion euros to Greece and 1.4 billion euros to Ireland, Hugo Banziger, the company’s chief risk officer, said in a presentation on the company website yesterday. The bank’s net sovereign exposure is 3.2 billion euros to Italy, 500 million euros to Greece and 200 million euros to Ireland, Banziger said. The bank has «net traded credit positions» of negative 1.1 billion euros to Spain, negative 800 million euros to Portugal and has no net sovereign exposure to the other two countries, according to the presentation. (Bloomberg) More EU aid? A near trillion-dollar bailout fund for debt-burdened euro nations will be increased if required, the European Union’s appointed president said in an interview published yesterday. Herman Van Rompuy, who is in Berlin to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel seven days after an EU summit dominated by disputes over how to install new cross-border economic governance, told Belgian business magazine Trends-Tendances that the 750-billion-euro EU-IMF fund of loan guarantees could be extended. «Is it enough? Today, there is not even the hint of anyone asking to put this rescue plan into action,» he told the magazine. However, «if the plan proves insufficient, my answer is simple: In this case, we will do more.» The sums break down as 440 billion euros of guarantees from the countries which share the euro, 250 billion euros of heavily conditioned loans from the International Monetary Fund and 60 billion euros in loans raised by the full, 27-nation European Union. (AFP)