Gains of 27 pct may be on the cards

Greek stocks could rise by 27 percent this year, depending on the course of the sovereign debt crisis, after losing just over one-third of their value in 2010, according to a leading Athens-based brokerage. EFG Eurobank Equities said in a report published yesterday that its 2011 year-end target for the Athens bourse’s benchmark general index is 1,730 points, implying an upside of 27 percent from current levels. «Greek equities have so far been and for the immediate future will remain a macro call,» the report said. «The implementation of any collective initiatives in the eurozone could be cathartic, a game changer and we suggest investors stay alert.» The brokerage’s top picks for 2011 are National Bank, OPAP, construction group Ellaktor, water utility EYDAP and OTE telecom. «Our top picks include stocks with conservative balance sheets, strong cash flow generation and exposure to the infrastructure/privatization themes as well as including the best-capitalized bank,» the report added. »We believe that all the mentioned names could significantly benefit from management’s respective cost-containment initiatives expected to play out in 2011.»