ECONOMY

ASE gains 2 percent on hopes of short war

Equities climbed 2 percent yesterday, led higher by advancing European bourses as investors discounted a short war in the US-led attack against Iraq. Banks, which have lost 20 percent so far this year, outperformed with gains of 3.47 percent. OTE Telecom jumped 3.81 percent to 9.82 euros, while telecoms gained 2.52 percent. Greece’s second biggest mobile operator, Vodafone Panafon – set to join the Eurotop 300 index of Pan-European blue chips Monday – added 1.53 percent to 5.32 euros. The Athens bourse’s benchmark general index finished the session just off session highs at 1,570.39 points, up 2.05 percent. The market ended the week with overall gains of 3.7 percent. Blue chips rose 2.51 percent to 758.45 points. Mid-caps rose 2.36 percent. Small-caps on the bourse’s FTSE/ASE-80 index advanced 3.31 percent. Turnover rose to 92.19 million euros from 45 million euros previously, with 31.3 million shares changing hands. Winners beat losers 312 to 29, with 23 shares unchanged on 364 traded. (Reuters)