NBG lifts bourse on news of hotel sale

Stocks gained ground yesterday with National Bank rising 3 percent on reports that it is in talks to sell its stake in the Astir Palace luxury hotel resort. Shares in Astir Palace climbed 12 percent but later trimmed gains to close at 5.08 euros, up 8 percent. The bourse’s benchmark general index ended up 0.84 percent at 1,579.62 points. «Investors are discounting the positive scenario that National will sell its stake at a price higher than the current market price,» said one analyst. The index of five biggest banks gained 1.65 percent. Brokers said an upgrade to neutral by UBS Warburg on Monday had stoked interest in the sector. Telecom stocks eased 0.07 percent, with blue chips on the FTSE/ASE-20 index up 0.86 percent to 760.71 points. Mid-caps rose 1.8 percent to 170.1 points, while small-caps gained 1.48 percent. Turnover eased to 72.85 million euros from Tuesday’s 86.52 million, with 26.7 million shares changing hands. Winners beat losers 219 to 82, with 63 shares unchanged on 364 traded. (Reuters)