Remember the Greek Market Shutdown? Stocks Are Moving On

It took the Greek stock market about four months to start turning the page from the turmoil that almost cost the nation its euro-area membership.

But after reaching a three-year low in August, the benchmark ASE Index is showing signs of recovering. It’s rebounded 25 percent since then, closing at its highest level since June 26, before Greece imposed capital controls and its exchange shut down. The gauge surpassed a previous high hit on Aug. 11 and climbed another 0.3 percent on Friday.

It’s all thanks to the lenders: The FTSE/Athex Banks Index is heading for its biggest surge since May 2013, up 63 percent this month.

“There is speculation on how high or high low the capital that the Greek banks need is, and the market sees a positive outcome,” said Nikos Kyriazis, an equity sales trader at NBG Securities SA in Athens.

The European Central Bank is assessing Greek lenders’ books, and results of the findings are due at the end of the month. That will determine how much money banks will have to raise for their recapitalization.

In the meantime, National Bank of Greece SA is having a spectacular rally this month -- a record 93 percent. The lender is starting talks with potential investors about the sale of its Turkish unit.

Analysts are more bullish on National Bank of Greece than on other of the nation’s biggest lenders, with five of nine of those tracked by Bloomberg recommending buying its shares. None advises to sell.

National Bank of Greece analyst calls
National Bank of Greece analyst calls

The recovery is not seen only in the stock market. Yields on the benchmark 10-year bonds are near their lowest levels of the year.

Yet Greek stocks still have a while to go before they reach levels seen before the crisis. Their market value is 87 percent below their peak in 2007.

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