Political outlook on minds of equity and bond investors

Possible changes on Greece’s political map will be on the minds of investors this week after yesterday’s local elections. Following Prime Minister George Papandreou’s recent statements that he will call snap national elections if the socialists fare poorly in the local polls, concerns about the government’s ability to push through unpopular austerity measures have pressured equity and bond markets. Last week, the Athens bourse’s benchmark general index fell 2.6 percent to 1,507.79 points on bank-led losses. In the fixed income market, the 10-year Greek/German government bond yield spread widened by 17 basis points (bps) on Friday to 922 bps, its highest since late September. The public debt management agency is scheduled to auction off 300 million euros of 26-week Treasury bills on Tuesday. The amount is considered small but investors will keep an eye out for yield levels, reflecting sentiment in Greece’s ability to get its finances under control. More earnings will be flowing in with Hellenic Exchanges, the operator of the Athens bourse, scheduled to unveil nine-month figures today after the market closes. Piraeus Securities expects a 48.7 percent drop in net profit to 14.3 million euros, due to weak trading activity on the spot market and an adjustment for a one-off tax paid in the second quarter.

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