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Explosive growth in trading activity of Greek bank shares

Analysts say that selling pressure prompted over concerns for the pandemic and the subsequent restructuring of MSCI's indicators have been absorbed by domestic retail investors and many foreign portfolios, with a limited investment horizon, who rushed to take advantage of the low prices.

There has been an impressive change in the shareholder structure of Greece's systemic banks in recent months, due to the explosive growth in trading activity that began in March, peaked in May (with the restructuring of MSCI indices) and continues in early June.

Yesterday, 27.6 million shares in Alpha Bank changed hands, accounting for 1.78 percent of its total stocks, 26.77 million shares in Eurobank shares were traded, accounting for 0.72 percent of its total shares, 7.5 million shares of National Bank were sold, corresponding to 0.82 percent of its shares and 2.99 million shares of Piraeus Bank corresponding to 0.68 percent of the total.

Analysts say that selling pressure prompted over concerns for the pandemic and the subsequent restructuring of MSCI's indicators have been absorbed by domestic retail investors and many foreign portfolios, with a limited investment horizon, who rushed to take advantage of the low prices.

In the first days of June, 10.7 percent of Alpha Bank's shares, 6.43 percent of Eurobank, 5.5 percent of National Bank, and 3.14 percent of Piraeus Bank changed hands, while trading volumes in March and in April more than doubled previous months. The sharp rise in trading activity peaked in May when 23.77 percent of Alpha Bank shares, 20.63 percent of National Bank shares, 17.33 percent of Eurobank, and 8.4 percent of Piraeus Bank shares were traded.

According to analysts, buying interest has grown due to the improved macro outlook in Europe, expectations created by an abundant supply of liquidity, and new tools offered, such as the EU Recovery Fund, and the extremely attractive valuations of domestic banks.

In recent months there has been a change in each lender's share structure with many foreign investors having taken a position.

Eurobank has been in the spotlight due to expectations for the completion of the doValue deal, which was completed last week, which will drastically reduce its stock of non-performing loans. Alpha Bank, which has shown the largest trading activity, has restarted work on the Galaxy project, as several analysts upgraded their recommendations on the share to buy.

At Piraeus Bank, strong buying took place in March as the big drop in share value made its valuation very attractive. Respectively, National Bank's strong fundamentals make it an attractive option.

YIANNIS PAPADOGIANNIS

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