Cyprus stock exchange hits new low in flagging market
The Cyprus Stock Exchange hit a new 18-month low Friday, February 9, amid nervous trading, which saw the market open in positive territory and then lose ground before some stocks rallied to leave the All-Share index down by just 0.17 percent. Friday's slim losses made it 12 successive sessions in the red during a bear run which has shaved off a cool $1.6 billion in share values, said analysts.
"As things are, nobody can say where or when the market will bottom out," said stockbroker Michalis Savvides. The flagging market is in stark contrast to a buoyant economy experiencing low inflation (2.5 percent)), a shrinking fiscal deficit (three percent of gross domestic product —GDP), record tourism receipts ($2.08 billion) and robust growth (4.5 percent).
Now the CSE is at its lowest ebb since July 1999 and analysts predict the mood could get uglier as investor confidence is shot. "It seems that investors will continue to liquidate shares for now. There is a negative climate," said broker Socrates Georgiades. At the start of 2001 the market's capitalization was $11 billion. At the end of Friday's session it fell to $9.39 billion—from a record high of $24.16 billion reached during the boom of 1999.
There were hopes that 2001 would see a recovery after the hefty losses of the previous year. But since mid-January there have been only two positive sessions on the exchange floor as CSE stocks have continued to fall. Investors are still coming to terms with last year's unrelenting plunge from 700 points in January 2000, to end the year on 244 points - representing a 65 percent drop in share values.
The index closed Friday on 202.9 on a traded volume of $15.95 million. During today's session 52 stocks advanced, 97 retreated and 64 remained unchanged. —(AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)