Bank stocks continued their decline (-2.6%) on Thursday, but that was not enough to force more losses on the Athens bourse benchmark, which gained more than 1 percent thanks to the closing auctions in a rather indifferent market, as the constantly low trading volume reveals. The bounce is attributed partly to the two day sell off and to PM statements regarding the conclusion of the agreement with creditors by the end of April.
General index ended at 752.37 points, adding 1.13 percent to Wednesday’s 743.95 points. In total 56 stocks posted gains, 54 took losses and 14 stayed put. Turnover amounted to €68.2m, slightly up from Wednesday’s €63.9m.
Domestic market may continue its moderate reaction today awaiting the outcome of talks of the technical teams in Brussels Group. April future contracts expire today while Fin Min Varoufakis meets ECB’s Draghi (17:00 Gr time).
¢ In the Spotlight
Greece: Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Thursday, in a statement to Reuters, he is confident that Greece and its European partners will be able to work through their differences and reach to an agreement by the end of the month. He noted that there are “many points of convergence” between the two sides, with disagreements remaining in just four areas relating to labor relations, social security, VAT and state property.
In other news Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis promised Thursday to compromise in negotiations over the next installment of a bailout loan that would prevent a default on the country’s debts. Yet Varoufakis also denounced some of the reforms demanded by the country’s European creditors, suggesting the two sides remain far apart. Speaking at the Brookings Institution, he said his government was elected to “challenge the logic of a program that has clearly failed.”
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble also spoke at Brookings and gave no sign of backing down from his hard-line stance that Greece must agree to sweeping economic reforms.
Greece/IMF: International Monetary Fund on Thursday signaled that it would not grant a payment delay to Greece, as it had never been done for an advanced economy and the Fund should protect its safe reputation. IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said a Greek delay on its repayments to the Fund would not be recommended in the current situation. “We have never had an advanced economy asking for payment delays,” she said in response to reporters’ questions on Greece, which is struggling with a tight liquidity situation while it negotiates with its foreign creditors.
Greece/Budget Deficit: Greek March 2015 budget deficit at EUR306m (much lower vs deficit target of EUR2.04bn) as revenues rose to EUR4.23bn (EUR1.06bn ahead target) while expenses fell to EUR4.53bn (EUR673m below target).
Piraeus Bank: Piraeus bank made the highest bid (€17m) for the acquisition of Panellinia Bank a 26 brunch retail bank with €600m in deposits. Panellinia regulatory capital needs are €170m and failed to secure private funding for recap.
PPA: Cosco’s local subsidiary, Piraeus Container Terminal, on Thursday announced that it handled 266,500 container last month, against 220,500 in March 2014, posting an increase of 21 percent. This meant that PCT put a stagnant first couple of months this year behind it to record 7.5 percent growth in containers handled year-on-year in the first quarter of 2015, for a total of 736,400 containers. This is also good news for Piraeus Port Authority, which has leased the terminals to Cosco, as a major part of the Athens-listed authority’s revenues derive from PCT earnings. In January and February activity at the PCT terminals had grown by just 1.1 percent on an annual basis, after major yearly growth of 18.5 percent recorded in 2014.
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