The main Greek stock index, the Athex ended the day down by 16.23 percent recovering from a 22.87 percent drop minutes after opening.
The bourse has been closed for five weeks, shut just before Athens imposed capital controls at the height of the debt crisis.
Bank shares which make up about 20 percent of the index were particularly hard hit. The overall banking index was down to its 30 percent daily limit.
It was the worst daily performance since at least 1985 when modern records began.
“Given that the market has been closed for a protracted period and many things remain uncertain concerning the Greek economic situation, uncertainties that we hope will clear up soon, we expected that there would be pressures on the Greek stock exchange as soon as it opened. But allow me to say that was no excuse to keep the stock market closed and never open it. A closed stock market is no market at all,” explained Konstantinos Botopoulos Chairman Hellenic Capital Market Commission.
Some commentators reported there had been thoughts of prohibiting the trading of Banks stocks. The massive sell off was expected as the banks face new stress tests and a further recapitalization process. Traders said they predicted more bank-share losses in the next session.
Symela Touchtidou, euronews’ Athens correspondent, said: “Market analysts say that Monday’s sell off was something to expect. What is crucial now for the stock exchange and for the Greek economy as a whole is the sell off not to be accompanied by a massive exodus of foreign investors. Something which will be revealed in the coming days.”