ECONOMY

Piraeus helps bourse up

Piraeus Bank’s proposal last Thursday to acquire the state’s stakes in ATEbank and Hellenic Postbank gave a breath of fresh air to the local bourse, which ended the week with growth both for stocks and in turnover. The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index is starting the new week today from 1,612.87 points, which is 5.58 percent higher than the 1,527.62-point level a week earlier. It took the main index 40 sessions to rise above the 1,600-point level again, aided by banking stocks that saw a 13.95 percent weekly growth in their sectoral index. As the market is speculating over the outcome of the Piraeus proposal, and contrary to the local bourse’s reaction, foreign agencies such as Standard & Poor’s, Citigroup and Merrill Lynch expressed their worries, warning of risks for the implementation of such a deal. However, the market had been so deprived of company activity in terms of significant mergers and acquisitions, that it was natural for Greek investors to view the move in a positive light and even expect a reaction from other banks. Average turnover last week came to 107.9 million euros per day, up from 77.9 million euros the previous week.