ECONOMY

Index inches closer to 1,800 points

Stocks rose for a sixth session yesterday as an unexpected jump in first-quarter profits for Alpha Bank fanned hopes of a recovery for the sector. But weak European markets prompted investors to lock in their gains from the bourse’s recent bank-led rally, with Alpha closing at 13.9 euros, off its morning high of 14.08. The Athens benchmark general index gained 0.77 percent to 1,781.95 points, its highest close so far this year. «The market was influenced by the sudden downturn of European markets, leading to a bit of profit-taking, although the Greek market held in positive territory quite nicely,» said trader Nikos Diamantopoulos at Kappa Securities. The blue chip index rose 0.74 percent to 891.40 points. Mid-caps gained 0.22 percent, while small-caps rose 0.10 percent. Turnover rose to 153.69 million euros, with 45.8 million shares changing hands. Winners beat losers 175 to 128, with 58 shares ending unchanged on 361 traded. (Reuters)