Stocks soared during the last trading session of the week at the Athens Stock Exchange, as the market welcomed a Eurozone agreement on resolving the Greek debt crisis and supporting the domestic banking system. The composite index of the market ended 5.91 pct higher at 1,286.15 points for a net gain of 9.04 pct in the week. Bank shares were at the focus of buying interest. Turnover also jumped to 161.272 million euros. The Big Cap index soared 7.51 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 5.72 pct higher and the Small Cap index ended 6.55 pct up. All blue chip stocks ended higher with Alpha Bank (18.81 pct), Marfin Popular Bank (13.21 pct), Hellenic Postbank (13.11 pct), Piraeus Bank (12.09 pct) and National Bank (9.39 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day.
The Media (6.12 pct) sector was the only one to end lower, while Banks (11.68 pct), Technology (7.47 pct) and Financial Services (6.69 pct) scored gains. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 156 to 13 with another 31 issues unchanged. ATEbank (27.42 pct), Alpha Bank (18.81 pct) and Lazaridis (18.18 pct) were top gainers, while Levenderis (9.09 pct), Tzirakian (8.51 pct) and CPI (8.33 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +5.04%
Personal & Household: +3.77%
Raw Materials: +4.65%
Travel & Leisure: +6.29%
Food & Beverages: +1.09%
Financial Services: +6.69%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Alpha Bank, OPAP and Bank of Cyprus.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 3.60
Public Power Corp (PPC): 9.40
HBC Coca Cola: 18.68
Hellenic Petroleum: 6.66
National Bank of Greece: 5.36
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 3.15
Bank of Piraeus: 1.02
ADEX closing report
The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a premium of 0.48 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Friday, with turnover rising to 50.631 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 12,441 contracts worth 34.983 million euros, with 30,582 short positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 43,563 contracts worth 15.648 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank’s contracts (15,850), followed by Eurobank (4,601), MIG (613), OTE (1,373), Piraeus Bank (6,429), Alpha Bank (5,395), Marfin Popular Bank (1,093), Hellenic Postbank (1,157) and ATEbank (2,456).
Greek bond spreads falling spectacularly
The yield spreads between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds shrank spectacularly on the domestic electronic secondary bond market early Friday, as the market reacted positively to a decision reached at an EU Summit on Thursday on a new support package for Greece.
The yield spread fell to 12.6 percent, from 13.18 pct the previous day.
Foreign Exchange rates
U.S. dollar 1.460
Pound sterling 0.895
Danish kroner 7.565
Swedish kroner 9.214
Japanese yen 114.52
Swiss franc 1.196
Norwegian kroner 7.884
Canadian dollar 1.386
Australian dollar 1.343
**** Greece’s current accounts balance showed a deficit of 1.998 billion euros in May, compared to a surplus of 308 million euros in May 2010, reflecting the high levels of EU transfers in that month of 2010, the Bank of Greece said on Friday.
The central bank, in a monthly report, said that the trade deficit remained almost unchanged, given that an improvement in the trade balance excluding oil and ships was offset by an increase in, mainly, the net oil import bill and, secondarily, net payments for purchases of ships. Specifically, export receipts excluding oil and ships rose at a high rate (20.3 percent) in May 2011, while the corresponding import bill showed no remarkable change (up by 1.6 percent).
The surplus of the services balance grew by 42 million euros as a result of lower net payments for “other” services and higher net travel receipts. In more detail, travel spending by non-residents in Greece grew by 9.8 percent in May year-on-year. By contrast, net transport receipts (chiefly from merchant shipping) fell by 22.6 percent, as gross receipts dropped by 10.1 percent, while the corresponding payments rose by 3.3 percent.
The income account deficit increased by 170 million euros as a result of a 162 million rise in net payments for interest, dividends and profits.
Finally, the current transfers balance showed a deficit of 137 million euros, compared with a surplus of 2.036 billion euros in May 2010, chiefly as a result of net general government payments of 129 million euros, against net receipts of 2.022 billion euros in May 2010. As already mentioned in previous press releases, the bulk of the funds allocated to general government under EU current transfers for the whole of 2011 was already absorbed during the first two months of 2011. (It should be recalled that gross current transfers from the EU mainly include receipts from the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF), as well as receipts from the European Social Fund, while current transfers to the EU include Greece’s contributions (payments) to the Community Budget.)
The income account deficit rose by 316 million euros year-on-year, almost exclusively due to higher net payments for interest, dividends and profits (up by 9.2 percent).
Finally, the current transfers balance showed a surplus of 1.066 billion euros, down by 51 million compared with the corresponding period of 2010. This development is due to the fact that the balance of the “other” sectors (mainly emigrants’ remittances) turned to a deficit of 133 million euros, from a 29 million surplus in the first five months of 2010. By contrast, net current transfers to general government (mainly from the EU) rose by 111 million euros.
In May 2011, the capital transfers balance showed a surplus of 16 million euros, compared with a deficit of 12 million in May 2010. (Capital transfers from the EU mainly include receipts from the Structural Funds – except for the European Social Fund – and the Cohesion Fund under the Community Support Framework.)
In May 2011, non-residents’ direct investment in Greece showed a net inflow of 286 million euros The most important transaction concerns an inflow of 400 million for the acquisition of Specifar Pharmaceuticals SA by Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc. (United States). Residents’ direct investment abroad recorded a net outflow of 59 million, without any remarkable transactions.
Under portfolio investment, a net outflow of 4.3 billion euros was recorded. Under “other” investment, a net inflow of 6.5 billion euros was recorded.
In the January-May 2011 period, direct investment showed a net outflow of 115 million euros (compared with a net inflow of 458 million in the corresponding period of 2010).
At end-May 2011, Greece’s reserve assets stood at 4.6 billion euros.
**** The Greek banking system is the safest in Europe, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said on Friday. Speaking to reporters a day after an EU Summit agreed on a new support package for Greece, the Greek minister said: “Greek citizens must fell safe as the banking system is stabilized and its liquidity is ensured”.
It is apparent, he added, that Europe on Thursday issued a clear declaration in favor of the euro. Naturally, he said, Greece benefits from this.
There is a big relief for the economy, Venizelos said, adding however that this relief should not mean a relaxation of the efforts. “We must carry on with the implementation of the programme. It is crucial for the Greek economy and for moving on to positive growth rates,” he added.
**** Greece’s new alternate development minister Haris Pamboukis, who is responsible for shipping affairs, had his first acquaintance meeting in London on Wednesday with the London-based Greek Shipping Cooperation Committee (GSCC).
Discussions focused on matters concerning international shipping, marine education and ways of attracting youths back to the maritime profession, and prospects for evolving Piraeus into a modern international shipping hub.
Pamboukis said that in order to achieve the upgrading of Piraeus, institutional and legislative stability is needed, counter-incentives need to be eliminated, modern infrastructures need to be created, and the infrastructure of maritime education needs to be improved.
Shipping is for Greece one of the pylons for development that can contribute to attainment the national goal of achieving a primary surplus in the near future and reversing the difficult situation in which the country finds itself today, Pamboukis said.
**** The island of Crete participated in the exhibition “Summer Fancy Food Show 2011” which took place in Washington from 10-12 July.
Enterprises from Crete and from other parts of Greece presented their products, as well as the Cretan diet, in cooperation with the Hellenic Foreign Trade Board.
“Summer Fancy Food Show” is the largest event in the food and beverages sector in America and every year attracts a large number of entrepreneurs and visitors. A total of 2,400 exhibitors from 80 countries presented their countries’ products.