National Bank makes up for OTE drop

Equities inched 0.09 percent higher yesterday as investors returned from a five-day break for Orthodox Easter with renewed appetite for bank stocks after National Bank pleased with its first-quarter results. National led gainers among the sector, leaping 4.48 percent to 12.14 euros. Telecom stocks slumped 2.48 percent after news from dealers in London that Norwegian operator Telenor will place half of its 18 percent stake in CosmOTE with institutional investors. CosmOTE fell 4.31 percent to 9.32 euros. National said last Wednesday that its first-quarter group pretax profit after minorities fell 17.8 to 112 million euros, beating forecasts of a 36 percent drop. Mid-caps on the bourse’s FTSE/ASE-40 index gained 0.64 percent while small-caps rose 1.15 percent. Turnover rose to 94.96 million euros from Thursday’s 79.5 million euros, with 22.4 million shares changing hands. Winners beat losers 211 to 91, with 54 shares ending unchanged on 356 traded. (Reuters)