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Finally, the month of March “haunts” the markets and the Athens Stock Exchange.

“Black Swans” appear in the markets almost every March in recent years: March 2020 the pandemic, March 2022 the war in Ukraine and March 2023 the bankruptcy of SVB and the collapse of Credit Suisse Group.

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Since the beginning of March, the main stock market index has recorded losses of 9.66%, the total market capitalization has fallen by more than 7 billion euros, while the banking index has recorded losses of approximately 20.85%.

The market had completed five months of upward movement that brought the key index to a high of 1,133 points, from a low of 790 points at the end of last September. In the five months the main stock market index had strengthened by around 43%, the capitalization of the market in the same period strengthened by 20 billion euros, while the banks were the protagonists of the rise with the banking index recording great gains of 83%.

As the stock market analysts note, the international banking turmoil was the reason for a correction in the Greek market, which had also recorded the biggest profits internationally for 2022.

The Greek stock market had completed a “hot” two-month period with the General Price Index emerging as the protagonist of returns among the major global indices.

The General Price Index ended the first two months of 2023 with gains of 21.45%, while the banking index had strengthened by 45.18%.

But the new banking episodes with SVB and Credit Suisse Group “dynamitize” one of the favorite choices of investors for this year, European banks and of course Greek bank securities.

However, Greek banks are currently able to absorb any shocks from the international markets. Banks have cleaned up their balance sheets using the “Hercules” program. The “red” loans in the banks’ portfolio from 44%, today have fallen to 8%. Banks maintain capital adequacy ratios well above the minimum requirement and have of course returned to profitability after a series of loss-making years.

The qualitative data (capital adequacy and low level of “red” loans), combined with the low loan-to-deposit ratio (at 61.12% in the 3rd quarter, with private sector deposits at 184.1 billion in January 2023 and loans at 113.5 billion) provide a shield to Greek banks.

The Greek stock market has important “defenses”. Support for the market can be given by the development perspective of the Greek economy and the increase in investments due to the increased flows of European funds (Recovery Fund and NSRF mainly).

In its winter forecasts, the Commission raises the bar for this year’s growth of the Greek economy to 1.2% this year and 2.2% in 2024, clearly higher than the European average. However, there are also forecasts by international houses such as UBS that set the bar even higher at 3%.

And of course the particularly positive results announced by listed companies for 2022, which have announced dividend distributions and capital returns that already exceed 1 billion euros.

Finally, the Greek stock market also expects the acquisition of investment grade by Greece, which seems to have “frozen” for the moment mainly due to the elections.

The returns

From the highs of March 1st (1,133.11 points), only the shares of Jumbo (+13.08%) and Coca Cola HBC (+0.54%) have shown an increase in large-cap stocks.

On the contrary, the largest decline is shown by the shares of: Alpha Bank (-27.54%), Piraeus (-23.80%), Ethnikis (-18.21%), Eurobank (-16.88%), Motor Oil ( -16.34%), Ellaktor (-15.56%), OTE (-13.85%), ELPE (-13.25%), ADMIE (-12.71%), Elvalhalcor (-11.24% ), Lamda Development (-11.03%) and GEK TERNA (-10.17%).

The shares of: Titan (-8.92%), Quest Participations (-8.85%), Viohalco (-8.42%), PPC (-7.14%), Terna Energy (-6, 80%), Sarantis (-4.78%), Mytileneos (-4.69%), OPAP (-2.37%) and PPA (-1.83%).