Stocks remained under pressure during the last trading session of the week at the Athens Stock Exchange on Friday, hit by a sharp rise in Greek bond spreads and an announcement by Piraeus Bank of an 1.05 billion euros share capital increase plan.
The composite index fell 1.93 pct to end at 1,547.43 points, for a net loss of 3.63 pct in the week. Turnover was an improved 156.222 million euros. The Big Cap index dropped 2.31 pct, the Mid Cap index fell 1.84 pct and the Small Cap index ended 2.21 pct down. OPAP (3.59 pct), Hellenic Petroleum (0.70 pct), Titan (0.20 pct) and PPC (0.08 pct) were the only blue chip stocks to end higher, while Alpha Bank (6.48 pct), Eurobank (5.32 pct), Piraeus Bank (4.35 pct) and National Bank (2.72 pct) suffered the biggest losses.
The Insurance (0.82 pct) and Travel (3.09 pct) sectors scored gains, while Health (7.53 pct) and Banks (3.81 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 123 to 47 with another 46 issues unchanged. Attikat (10 pct), Creta Farm (9.68 pct) and Druckfarben (9.62 pct) were top gainers, while Vell Group (12 pct), VIS (9.89 pct) and Olympic Catering (9.28 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -0.41%
Personal & Household: -0.66%
Raw Materials: -1.56%
Travel & Leisure: +3.09%
Food & Beverages: -2.07%
Financial Services: -1.66%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Alpha Bank, Piraeus Bank and OPAP.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 4.76
Public Power Corp (PPC): 12.05
HBC Coca Cola: 18.60
Hellenic Petroleum: 5.76
National Bank of Greece: 7.87
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 4.45
Bank of Piraeus: 3.74
ADEX closing report
The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -1.20 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Friday with turnover at 44.348 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 8,575 contracts worth 31.787 million euros, with 21,492 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 24,742 contracts worth 12.561 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Piraeus Bank’s contracts (8,980), followed by Eurobank (1,654), MIG (497), OTE (439), National Bank (6,745), Alpha Bank (2,144), Ellaktor (1,025), Cyprus Bank (1,196) and ATEbank (325).
Greek bond spreads jump to 825 bps
Greek bond spreads widened significantly on Friday reflecting investors’ renewed worries over fiscal developments in Greece, Portugal and Ireland. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened to 845 basis points in midday trade to ease slightly to 825 bps in early afternoon trade, with the Greek bond yielding 10.50 pct.
In Ireland, the 10-year bond yielded 7.2 pct, while in Portugal, the 10-year bond yielded around 6.0 pct. Greek bond spreads are under pressure in the last three days after comments made by US investors over the likelihood of a debt restructuring by Greece.
Foreign Exchange rates
U.S. dollar 1.396
Pound sterling 0.875
Danish kroner 7.515
Swedish kroner 9.435
Japanese yen 112.76
Swiss franc 1.381
Norwegian kroner 8.257
Canadian dollar 1.426
Australian dollar 1.433
**** Retail sales volume fell 11.8 pct in August, compared with the same month last year, after a decline of 4.5 pct recorded in August 2009, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Friday.
The statistics service, said the sharp decline, reflecting a shrinking consumption in Greece which will have negative effect on the country’s Gross Domestic Product, was recorded almost throughout all categories of shops, with fuel/lubricants (16.2 pct), furniture/electrical appliances (15.3 pct), pharmaceuticals/cosmetics (15.3 pct), food/beverage/tobacco (12.8 pct) and super markets (11.7 pct) recording the biggest percentage declines.
The retail sales turnover index fell 6.3 pct in August, after a decline of 3.1 pct recorded in August 2009.
**** Passenger traffic in Greek ports rose 0.7 pct in the first quarter of 2010, compared with the corresponding period last year, after a decline of 9.3 pct recorded in the January-March period in 2009, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Friday.
The statistics service, in a report, said cargo traffic in Greek ports dropped 12.4 pct in the first three months of 2010, after a decline of 6.6 pct in the same period last year.
**** Piraeus Bank on Friday announced a share capital increase plan seeking to raise 800 million euros from the market after receiving guarantees of a full coverage of the issue by financial firms Barclays Capital, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs International and Morgan Stanley -the international coordinators of the issue. The offering price will be set before the public offer, expected in January 2011.
The bank said that the share capital increase plan aims at strengthening its capital adequacy rates and to respond to increased expectations of the investment community along with enhancing the bank’s position, taking advantage of attractive opportunities of organic growth in the wider range.
Piraeus Bank said the share capital increase plan will raise its Equity Tier I rate to 9.5 pct and the Tier I rate at 10.8 pct, while the total capital adequacy rate will rise to 11.6 pct.
The bank will call for extraordinary general shareholders’ meetings to approve the plan, which envisages a rights issue combined with a cut in the nominal value of its common shares. The bank will seek shareholders’ approval to issue a 250-mln-euro convertible bond loan. The extraordinary general shareholders’ meeting is expected to be held November 23.
**** The Greek government is expected to finalize its decision over its tax policy for 2011 within the next month. The decisions will cover the transfer of products from a tax rate of 11 pct currently to a higher rate and taxation of vehicles. This policy is included in a memorandum signed by the Greek government and the EU/IMF/ECB troika in order to be implemented from January 1, 2011 and help the government raise 1.0 billion euros annually.
The Finance ministry is examining various scenario, such as the transfer of products from an 11 pct tax rate to an intermediate tax rate. Decisions over the issue are expected to be reached following consultations with the troika experts, expected to visit Greece in November as part of a regular inspection of the course of the Greek economy ahead of approval of a third tranche of an 110-billion euros support loan.
**** Addressing the public finances crisis should alleviate the liquidity problems in the Greek economy in the medium term and restore expectations at a level conducive to growth, according to a European Commission overview of competitiveness in the 27 EU member states that was released on Thursday.
According to the report, Greece’s labour productivity per person employed is slightly above the EU average, but on a per hour basis stands at around 80% of the EU average.
Greece, the report said, “faces a serious problem of competitiveness, which is reflected in a large deficit in goods trade”.
“While services trade is in surplus, mainly due to tourism and shipping, the deficit in goods trade has led to a current account deficit of around 11% of GDP in 2009. R&D investments in relation to GDP, particularly in the private sector, are amongst the lowest in EU and the innovativeness of the Greek economy depends heavily on imported technology and know-how,” according to the overview.
“Manufacturing accounted for 11% of employment and GDP in 2008 with food/drinks/tobacco, refined petroleum and basic metals and metal products being the most important sectors. The trade balance showed a clear deficit for manufacturing, mainly due to transport equipment, chemicals and electrical and optical equipment, with no sector showing a surplus,” it added.