ECONOMY

Good news from banks helps ASE rise 1.83 percent

Upgrades in Greek banks and news that the sale of ETBA Bank may be closer to completion helped fuel buying interest in financials yesterday, leading the Athens bourse 1.83 percent higher. Brokers said UBS Warburg and Merrill Lynch bank stock upgrades in the last two days supported gains in the sector, helped by the Finance Ministry’s announcement detailing two binding bids for a majority stake in state-owned ETBA Bank. A series of Greek bank upgrades, along with developments on the privatization front, renewed buying interest in the banking sector, said Annie Triantafyllou, head analyst at National Securities. The Athens bourse’s benchmark general index (ATG) ended at 2,303.71 points. Blue chips on the FTSE/ASE-20 index advanced 1.83 percent to 1,285.28 points, while mid-caps on the FTSE/ASE-40 added 1.71 percent. Small-caps gained 1.70 percent. Hydraulic elevator manufacturer Kleeman Hellas gained 0.41 percent to 4.90 euros. Earlier the firm said it bought 50 percent of Leistritz Hydraulik for an undisclosed amount. Turnover was 86.78 million euros on 18.9 million shares traded. (Reuters) Samia: A fat white grape which is dried in the sun. [In addition to sweet wine, Samos is also known to have exported currants. Samia is one of many varieties which became known by the name of its place of origin. It is mentioned in ancient Greek texts, such as Polydeuces’ Onomastikon.]