Telecoms take over as market boosters

Stocks rose for a fifth straight session yesterday, shaking off weakness in banks as investors locked in gains with attention turning to laggard telecom shares. OTE, Greece’s biggest telecoms group, sprinted 5.71 percent higher in late trade to 10.36 euros, boosting the Athens benchmark general index 0.94 percent to 1,768.27 points. The index earlier had hit an intrasession low of 1,735.20 points. Investors in National Bank stopped for a breather yesterday, chipping 0.71 percent off the shares of Greece’s largest bank. National has rallied 26.7 percent since it reported better-than-expected first quarter results on April 23. Blue chips on the bourse’s FTSE/ASE index gained 1.24 percent to 884.84 points. Mid-caps gained 0.58 percent, while small-caps rose 1.19 percent. Turnover was 129.81 million euros, with 37.0 million shares changing hands. Winners beat losers 164 to 137 with 56 shares ending unchanged on 357 traded. (Reuters)