Investors buy into banks, push index up

Equities edged 0.48 percent higher yesterday, as Alpha Bank outperformed with investors tuning into financials before the start of their 2002 reporting season later this week. Alpha, Greece’s second largest bank, gained 1.46 percent to 11.12 euros while banks firmed 0.75 percent. «We saw some relief and a more positive climate which was mainly imported from abroad. There was general interest in the broader market, with banks in focus ahead of the release of their earnings this week,» said Dimitris Scapinakis, analyst at Marfin Bank. The Athens benchmark general index ended at 1,693.78 points. Blue chips gained 0.52 percent to 839.23 points. Mid-caps rose 0.47 percent and small-caps advanced 0.40 percent. Turnover was 52.79 million euros, with 14.2 million shares changing hands. Winners beat losers 188 to 101 with 65 shares unchanged on 354 traded. (Reuters)