Banks help index minimize early losses

Stocks trimmed early losses on the benchmark index yesterday to end off 0.15 percent at 1,732.42 points, with blue chips gaining ground, led higher by banks. «Today’s trading pattern shows the market snubbed Monday’s retreat in Europe. Sentiment remains positive,» said analyst Stavros Christodoulou at Guardian Trust Securities. In Europe, stock markets were mixed as investors applauded Deutsche Telekom’s forecast return to profitability which lifted its shares, helping to offset losses in volatile insurers. Index heavyweight OTE Telecom, which reports first-quarter results May 29, ended down 2.45 percent at 9.54 euros with the day’s highest turnover. Banks rose 0.68 percent. Blue chips advanced 0.25 percent, with the FTSE/ASE-20 index closing at 859.65 points. Mid-caps dropped 0.57 percent and small-caps 0.68 percent. Turnover picked up to 113.7 million euros with 31.3 million shares changing hands. Decliners led advancers 214 to 101. (Reuters)