Banking & Finance

The Greek Recovery from Left Field

Greece and its banks may have found a friend in billionaire investor John Paulson. A report from Reuters has said that Paulson now favors the recapitalized banking sector as a bet on Greece’s recovery. After a six-year decline in the nation, Greece’s exports are back up and tourism is starting to return. Whether or not this is truly the case is still up in the air, but the moves in Greece have been impossible to ignore.

The recovery of ADRs in the National Bank of Greece S.A. (NYSE: NBG) has been so large that it is just impossible to ignore. Trading in New York was at $4.19 just last Thursday, but the gain of 18% on Monday to $5.43 has been on a whopping 17 million shares and that is with just under two hours of trading to go. Monday will mark the fifth day of gains barring any unknown drop.

We are even seeing 4% gains in the Global X FTSE Greece 20 ETF (NYSE MKT: GREK) to $21.42 on Monday. This would only mark the third day of gains in the ETF, but this is almost back to a 52-week high. The 52-week range for the ADR of NBG above is still $2.85 to $32.50 based upon that reverse stock split.

We have not seen parallel moves elsewhere in the PIIGS ETFs and closed-end funds, but there is at least one sympathy mover to the upside. The ADRs for the Bank of Ireland (NYSE: IRE) were up 3% in late afternoon trading on Monday with shares at $12.50. What handily matters here is that the 52-week range is $5.15 to $12.79.

We would caution readers that moves of this sort are harder and harder to track where the news or the driving force originates. It is also hard to know if some things have not been taken out of context.