Banks push index almost 2 pct higher

Stocks continued their rally yesterday, driven by Greece’s two biggest banks, National and Alpha, which rose 3.98 percent and 3.99 percent, respectively. National, which published first-quarter results yesterday, saw its consolidated pretax net profit fall 17.8 percent, much better than market experts’ expectations of a 36 percent drop. The benchmark general index rose 1.97 percent to close at 1,673.50 points. Turnover rose sharply, to 112.6 million euros. Among sectoral indices, only real estate showed losses (0.42 percent). On the other hand, four indices showed gains greater than 3 percent: insurance (8.64 percent), banks (3.89 percent), holding companies (3.11 percent) and textiles (3.02 percent). Among individual stocks, Karamolengos bakery rose 17.86 percent, while another eight stocks had gains in double digits. On the other hand, investment firm Dominius lost 17.93 percent and three other stocks had double-digit losses.