The Collapse Of The Athens Index

Includes: ERO, EU, GREK
by: Doug Short

I just finished reading a couple of commentaries by familiar pundits at Project Syndicate on the ongoing disaster in Greece. PIMCO's Mohamed El-Erian asks the rhetorical question Who is Responsible for the Greek Tragedy? Nouriel Roubini states unequivocally that Greece Must Exit the Eurozone.

The latest Greek unemployment rate, through February, is at a record 21.7 percent and 54 percent in the 15-24 age group. The country, having failed to elect a government, has sworn in a caretaker technocratic cabinet to govern until new elections on June 17.

Of the many grim facts about the situation in Greece, here is a snapshot of one of the ugliest. The Athens Stock Exchange General Index is a capitalization-weighted index of Greek stocks listed on the Athens Stock Exchange. As of today's close, the index has fallen 89.94% from its all-time high at the end of October in 2007.

To put this catastrophe into a larger historical context, here is an overlay of the Dow Crash of 1929 and the Crash of the Athens Index.

The crash of the Dow was a bit faster, but on Tuesday of this week, the Athens Index exceeded the percentage drop of the Dow's maximum decline. Today's 3.41% selloff with elections a month off doesn't bode well for the benchmark market index for the birthplace of democracy.