ECONOMY

Index rises slightly for third day in a row

Equities ended higher yesterday as financials added more than 1 percent with investors shrugging off news that the central bank had increased bad loan provision rates. «This (Bank of Greece decision) was largely discounted and banks have been rebounding recently. However, 2002 profit concerns in the sector remain,» said Vassilis Vlastarakis, analyst at Contalexis Securities. The Athens bourse benchmark general index ended up 0.35 percent at 1,726.76 points after drifting in negative territory earlier in the session. «The expiration of futures contracts tomorrow added to market volatility,» said Vlastarakis. Blue chips gained 0.70 percent to 849.04 points. Mid-caps gained 0.21 percent and small-caps rose 0.93 percent. Turnover was 74.47 million euros, with 17.8 million shares changing hands. Winners beat losers 169 to 114, with 69 shares unchanged on 352 traded. (Reuters)