Buoyant banks once again lead the way

Banks led the Athens bourse higher for a fourth session yesterday, as investors took heart from signs of recovery and jumped back in ahead of the announcement of first-quarter results. National Bank led the surge again, adding 5.26 percent to 14.02 euros. The Athens benchmark general index rose 1.81 percent to 1,751.87 points, consolidating after it recaptured the 1,700-point mark for the first time in three months on Friday. Intrasession, it reached a high of 1,768.16 points, a 2.7 percent gain. «Obviously, a number of investors have found themselves underweight in the banking sector and they’re now catching up,» said one broker. Blue chips on the FTSE/ASE-20 gained 2.45 percent to 874.04 points. Mid-caps gained 1.52 percent, while the small-cap FTSE/ASE-80 rose 2.40 percent. Turnover was 146.21 million euros, up from Friday’s 105.52 million, with 45.1 million shares changing hands. Winners beat losers 284 to 51, with 28 shares ending unchanged on 363 traded. (Reuters)

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