ECONOMY

State firms, banks bolster stock market

State companies and banks led the Greek bourse higher on Thursday as the market ended its two-day decline and returned to healthier turnover levels. The favorable climate across European markets also played its part.

The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index closed at 1,662.62 points, expanding by 2.70 percent from Wednesday?s closing at 1,618.98 points. The blue chip FTSE/ATHEX 20 index climbed by 2.87 percent to end at 775.48 points.

Interest in state lenders ATEbank and Helenic Postbank was boosted by expectations for fresh privatizations.

All but two blue chips headed higher, led by ATEbank (up 10.93 percent), Marfin Investment Group (6.82 percent), Eurobank EFG (6.13 percent), Hellenic Postbank (5.85 percent) and Alpha Bank (4.32 percent). Titan cement lost 0.95 percent and Jumbo declined by 0.73 percent.

Insurance companies took a beating, though, as their sectoral index lost 5.51 percent of its value.

In total, 126 stocks moved up, 43 went down and 52 remained unchanged. Eleftheri Tileorasi led those rising with an 18.75 percent growth, while PC Systems posted the biggest loss, which amounted to 17.65 percent.

Turnover came to 130.4 million euros, up from Wednesday?s 74.2 million.