Stocks edge higher on limited interest

Equities rose marginally yesterday in an attempt to track recent gains in European markets, as concerns about the impact of a US-led war with Iraq kept a lid on buying interest. Hellenic Exchanges, the holding company that owns the Athens stock and derivatives bourses, rose 1.99 percent on news that seven banks have expressed interest in acquiring 33.3 percent of the company. The Athens bourse’s benchmark general index firmed 0.17 percent to 1,551.80 points. «Buying interest remains contained,» said Nikos Galoussis, head of derivatives at Kappa Securities. Blue chips firmed 0.41 percent, while banks added 0.87 percent. Mid-caps gained 1.12 percent. Small-caps on the bourse’s FTSE/ASE-80 index advanced 2.08 percent. Turnover shot up to 240.33 million euros – with about 170 million euros in block trades – as 44.5 million shares changed hands. Winners beat losers 268 to 50, with 43 shares unchanged on 361 traded. (Reuters)

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