Stocks ended lower at the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday ahead of a three-day Christmas holiday in the markets. The composite index fell 0.34 pct to end at 1,444.19 points, with turnover shrinking to 47.2 million euros. The Big Cap index fell 0.73 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.33 pct lower and the Small Cap index eased 0.31 pct.
Viohalco (4.61 pct), PPC (1.07 pct) and Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling (0.50 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Ellaktor (4.78 pct), Marfin Popular Bank (4.31 pct) and ATEbank (4.05 pct) were top losers.
The Commerce (4.26 pct) and Media (2.02 pct) sectors scored gains, while Financial Services (2.51 pct) and Oil (2.12 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 76 to 74 with another 54 issues unchanged. Spider (20 pct), Avenir (12.5 pct) and Athens Medical (10.17 pct) were top gainers, while Atti-kat (12.5 pct), Vell Group (11.76 pct) and Mohlos (9.0 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -2.12%
Personal & Household: -0.60%
Raw Materials: +0.10%
Travel & Leisure: -0.35%
Food & Beverages: +0.48%
Financial Services: -2.51%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OPAP, Geniki Bank and Piraeus Bank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 4.03
Public Power Corp (PPC): 11.36
HBC Coca Cola: 20.00
Hellenic Petroleum: 5.80
National Bank of Greece: 6.26
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 3.85
Bank of Piraeus: 3.70
ADEX closing report
The March contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -1.68 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thursday, with turnover falling to a low of 13.460 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 3,115 contracts worth 10.344 million euros, with 24,917 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 8,920 contracts worth 3.113 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank’s contracts (1,445), followed by MIG (2,817), Alpha Bank (1,301), Piraeus Bank (1,181) and OTE (414).
Greek bond market closing report
The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds remained at very high levels in the Greek electronic secondary bond market on Thursday (924 basis points), with the Greek bond yielding 12.21 pct and the German Bund 2.97 pct. Turnover in the market was a low 32 million euros, of which 3 million were buy orders and the remaining 29 million were sell orders.
In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 1.53 pct, the six-month rate was 1.25 pct, the three-month 1.02 pct and the one-month rate 0.81 pct.
New structure for Greek Stock Exchanges S.A.
The Greek Stock Exchanges S.A. company informs investors that the Group’s new organising programme will be implemented as of January 1, 2011. The post of chief operations officer will be created and Dimitris Karaiskakis will be holding the post, while the post of deputy chief operations officer will also be created and filled by Nikolaos Porfyris.
Foreign Exchange rates
U.S. dollar 1.316
Pound sterling 0.854
Danish kroner 7.512
Swedish kroner 9.034
Japanese yen 109.82
Swiss franc 1.265
Norwegian kroner 7.899
Canadian dollar 1.337
Australian dollar 1.315
**** Greece’s economic sentiment index was unchanged in the September-November quarter from the previous quarter (June-August), standing at 67 points on average, the Institute for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) announced on Wednesday.
In a report, IOBE said the index remained below the 70-point level since March after reaching a low of 61.9 points in May. The September-November performance of the index was significantly lower compared with the long-term average rate of the 2001-2009 period (95.7 points) and well below the 78.4 point level of last year. Business expectations remained at very low levels, particularly in the retail sector and construction, while consumer confidence has fallen to record low levels, hit by a credit squeeze in the country.
From the demand side, consumer confidence fell further in the quarter, to new record lows, with Greek households’ expectations worsening further, while on the supply side, a mild recovery of business expectations was recorded in constructions and retail sector, a slight improvement in manufacturing, while in services expectations remained unchanged at last quarter’s levels.
IOBE said an agreement reached between the Greek government and the troika and the measures currently implemented were necessary to restoring fiscal stability and improving the country’s competitiveness and noted that without the memorandum, the country would have defaulted on its debt with devastating consequences over its economy and social cohesion.
The Institute, however, noted that the measures were fully necessary but were inadequate to ensuring the economic recovery of the country. IOBE expects an economic recession to reach 4.2 pct this year, pushing unemployment at 12.2 pct for the year. In a report, IOBE noted that the memorandum failed at promoting development while it also included significant gaps (such as the pension system) and needed to be reviewed. It also said that authorities failed to fully explain the feasibility of the government’s fiscal adjustment effort, creating insecurity among citizens and allowing speculative moves in markets.
IOBE said that the opening up of closed professions and abolishing hurdles in business activity could boost the country’s GDP by more than 17 pct in the long-term and by around 10 pct in the next five years. The Institute, however, stressed that these benefits have not been properly promoted in the troika’s official reports thus they were largely ignored by markets.
IOBE also urged for speedier moves towards a better exploitation of the state’s real estate and recommended a package of 11 measures aimed at abolishing all tax exemptions offered to citizens and their replacement with focused direct spending; an electronic system to detect and combat tax-evasion; reviewing all social benefits; merging state hospitals and privatising smaller and less used state hospitals; merging and abolishing certain military units; merging higher education institutes; another reform of the pension system; simplifying legislation, setting quantitive targets in upgrading state institutions and linking energy with research and innovation.
It also called for the use of managers from the private sector to help in achieving the government’s ambitious goals.
**** The Greek government on Wednesday urged listed state-controlled enterprises and their affiliates to harmonise their payroll costs with a wider cost-cutting programme adopted by the government in the wider public sector.
In a letter sent to the managements of listed state-controlled enterprises, Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou said listed public enterprises must participate in a payroll cost-cutting programme during the ongoing and crucial fiscal conjecture, doing their part to help the recovery of the Greek economy.
In the letter, the finance minister underlined that the state would use its rights as a major shareholder to ensure the implementation of this cost-cutting effort.
**** Implementation of legislation abolishing the decades-old and practically Greece-exclusive regime of cabotage, efforts for the development of cruise tourism and promotion of Greek ports as cruise ship home ports were the focal points of a teleconference discussion between US executives active in the cruise sector and Greek government ministers on Wednesday.
The teleconference was hosted by new US ambassador to Greece Daniel Bennett Smith at the US embassy with the participation of Minister of State Haris Pamboukis, Maritime Affairs, Islands & Fisheries Minister Yiannis Diamantidis, Culture and Tourism Deputy Minister Giorgos Nikitiadis, a representative of Piraeus Port Authority S.A. as well as tourism sector professionals.