Remember a couple of months ago when the merger between Greece's two big banks, Alpha Bank (OTCPK:ALBKY) and Eurobank (OTCPK:EGFEF), lit up Athens Exchange? The Athens Composite Index jumped 16% in one day, while the bank-dominated FTSE-20 rose nearly 19%!
This scenario may be repeated this week (on Monday, the Athens Exchange was up 5%) if a credible resolution on the Greek debt comes out of Brussels-like a big "haircut," coupled with a bank re-capitalization plan. Given the precipitous decline in the Greek financial markets (at slightly above 700, the Athens Exchange is trading close to 90% below its 2000 highs, and a little below its 1994 low) a rebound may be around the corner. This means that now may be the time for contrarian investors to take advantage of a possible rebound.
Buying Greek financial assets isn't without risks, depending on the medium of investment. Here we list three different investing strategies:
1. A High Risk Strategy. Buy National Bank of Greece (NYSE: NBG): The largest bank of Greece with an extensive presence in the Balkan region, Turkey, and Egypt. With a P-E of 23, an operating margin of 22%, and $4.83 billion cash flow, the bank is in the same, if not at a better financial situation than Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) and Citibank (NYSE: C).
2. Moderate Risk Strategy. Buy an ETF that invests in the Athens Exchange like ALPHA's FTSE Athex 20, and NBGAM Athex, but these funds may not be readily available to small investors.
3. A Low risk strategy. Buy the shares of Greek companies, trading in U.S. exchanges-larger companies with a dominant position in world industry leaders like Greek shipping companies (yes, Greeks are still dominant in shipping!):
Tsakos Navigation (NYSE: TNP): A large oil tanker owner and operator with solid financials and an experienced management team. The company has $262 million in cash and $91 million free cash flow and pays a 9.90% dividend.
Diana Shipping (NYSE: DSX): A leader in dry bulk shipping with a P-E of 8.49, an operating profit margin of near 50, and $373 million in cash, and a major beneficiary of the rising Chinese economy.
Navios Maritime Partners (NYSE: NMM): A diverse shipping company with a P-E of 15.14, a profit margin of 30%, and a dividend of 10.70%.