Making bets on the outcome of Greece is becoming a game that changes from day to day. Still, the rally seen this week in Greece’s major banking stocks has been large enough that it stands out equally as much as the major sell-off that they saw during the prior week.
What appears to taking place is that the new socialist government in Greece has indicated that the banks will not be run by party officials. The new regime apparently has backed away from its demands of a debt haircut after it suggested a swap into a form of growth-linked securities.
Whether these pledges and the enthusiasm are likely to hold up is up to you to decide. As a reminder, all that has to happen is for a no-confidence vote to be called, and any prior deal made by the Greek politicians can be challenged by the new regime.
If the pledges do manage to hold true, then the threat by the European Central Bank to withdraw emergency funding for the Greek banks will go away.
The American depositary shares (ADSs) for the National Bank of Greece S.A. (NYSE: NBG) briefly traded under $1 last week, which brings up New York Stock Exchange listing requirements if it persists. After an 18% gain in early trading on Tuesday, the ADSs were back up to $1.45 in New York trading, against a 52-week range of $0.98 to $5.83.
Shares of NBG soared in Greece early on Tuesday, ahead of the New York trading. Here is how the other major Greek banks traded in Athens on Tuesday: Alpha +16%, Eurobank +17% and Piraeus +19%.
Another show of force is that the Global X FTSE Greece 20 ETF (NYSEMKT: GREK) was up over 8% at $12.75 in early trading on Tuesday. This exchange traded funds tracks the FTSE/Athex 20 Capped Index, which is Greece’s equivalent of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The ETF has a 52-week range of $10.44 to $25.76.
Seeing a pop of this magnitude is always impressive. You just have to remember where they started — and you have to remember that any progress and promise from any Greek government can come with the fears of being undone with just a few words.
What a difference a couple of days can make …
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