Troubled Cyprus stock exchange heads for the floor

Published November 14th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

A serious case of investor panic sent the troubled Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) diving 6.45 percent Monday, November 13, to a new year low, with blue chip bank stock taking the brunt of the battering. 

 

"Panic selling is the reason why the index has gone down," said finance analyst Marios Mavrides. 

 

The CSE all-share index stood at 264.26 points after the 18-point drop, the third biggest this year, following Friday's two percent retreat. 

 

Total losses for November stand at more than 10 percent already, compounding an 18 percent devaluation of share prices in October, leaving CSE traders worried about when the 11-month rot will stop. 

 

"It's a bad start to the week and the drop in share prices could continue," said Nicosia broker Vassilis Spanos. 

 

Less than a year ago the Nicosia bourse was at a record high of 850 points after a boom in which a large slice of the population was persuaded that easy fast bucks were to be had. Since then the market has suffered a 70 percent plunge in share values across the board. 

 

A series of stock market laws has failed to restore investor confidence, and the boost from Bank of Cyprus's landmark flotation on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) last week was short-lived. 

 

Despite a better-than-expected flotation as the first foreign firm to list in Greece, BoC closed below its ASE quotation Monday after coming under pressure along with the general banking sector. 

 

"Uncertainty over bank stock in Nicosia and Athens is taking both markets down," said stockbroker Michael Efrem. 

 

The CSE's boom-bust cycle has witnessed a once packed trading floor now deserted by ordinary investors. 

 

"The market still needs to find the right balance between buyers and sellers and it seems investors still think that prices are not attractive enough," said Spanos.— (AFP)  

 

© Agence France Presse 2000  

© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)

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