ECONOMY

Small- and mid-cap stocks help index rise 1.38 pct

Rebounding small- and mid-cap stocks helped lead Greek equities 1.38 percent higher yesterday as buying picked up late in the session after a positive opening on Wall Street ahead of a US Federal Reserve rate decision. We saw a technical rebound in small- and mid-cap stocks, said Nicholas Bernitsas, analyst at Rate Capital Securities. Investor reluctance due to international developments is more clearly reflected in blue chips. The Athens bourse’s benchmark general index ended at 2,230.11 points, just off the session high of 2,230.55 points. The FTSE/ASE index of small-caps gained 2.23 percent while the mid-caps index rose 1.58 percent. Blue chips on the FTSE/ASE index firmed 1.02 percent to 1,240.84 points. Heavyweight banks advanced 0.78 percent and bellwether National Bank ended flat at 23.56 euros. Telecom stocks rose 0.71 percent but index heavyweight OTE shed 0.34 percent to 17.66 euros. Turnover was 110.80 million euros on 23.6 million shares traded. Gainers beat winners 280 to 47 with 35 shares unchanged on 362 traded.(Reuters) Economically I think we have seen almost a miracle. Here you have a country that was governed up until 1994 by a minority government, you had an inflation rate of 11 to 15 percent, a growth rate of minus 1 percent. The growth rate is still not what it should be: We’re aiming for 3 percent this year. Inflation is down to below 7 percent, we’re getting to 6 percent. So economically I think we’ve done miracles, he said. The big issue is that our country needs more money to look after the needs of the very poor. The president (Thabo Mbeki) once said in Parliament – and it caused a huge uproar among white people – that we are still polarized between rich, mostly white, and poor, mostly black, people. And I think the emphasis is on the word ‘mostly’ because there are also poor whites and there are also very rich black people, Momberg said. In 1994 the ANC promised the people that they would build a million houses in the first five years….We built 850,000 houses, which I think is amazing. It’s amazing what we achieved. But the fact is that 3 million houses still need to be built.