ECONOMY

Speculation fuels interest in equities

The improving climate on foreign markets, rumors of fresh merger talks between National Bank and Alpha, and developments concerning Deutsche Telekom – and possibly OTE – generated interest in local stocks on Monday.

The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index ended the day at 1,614.13 points, growing 1.28 percent from last Friday?s close at 1,593.78 points. The blue chip FTSE/ATHEX 20 index expanded by 1.12 percent to end at 753.70 points.

A Reuters report suggested that Alpha Bank asked National for improved terms to the latter?s merger proposal that Alpha rejected last month, although banking sources said there were no further developments to that.

OTE outperformed other blue chips with growth of 5.78 percent, ahead of Ellaktor (up 4.52 percent), Motor Oil (3.17 percent), Hellenic Petroleum (2.89 percent) and Public Power Corporation (2.51 percent).

OPAP (down 1.88 percent) and Marfin Investment Group (1.18 percent) were the day?s biggest losers.

In total, 97 stocks moved up, 51 went down and 59 remained unchanged. Elfico led the gainers with 17.86 percent growth, while Allatini Ceramics posted the biggest loss, amounting to 14.29 percent.

Turnover came to 219.7 million euros.