ECONOMY

Banks help index to end losing cycle

Aided by high-performing banks, stocks staged a rally after seven straight losing sessions to rise once again over 1,700 points. The Athens Stock Exchange benchmark general index rose 1.97 percent to close at 1,708.08 points. In rising, the ASE also followed foreign markets, which were pleased by the temporary halt in the euro’s rise against the dollar. However, analysts agreed that the Greek market is directionless at present. Banks, index heavyweights, rose 3.79 percent. Telecom stocks declined 0.32 percent, the only sectoral index to do so, largely due to OTE’s fall by 1.54 percent, to 8.94 euros. The greatest rise was in textiles (6.24 percent) and holding companies (4.49 percent). Blue chips on the FTSE/ASE-20 index rose 2.21 percent to 842.16 points; mid-caps went up 2.29 percent and small caps advanced 3.22 percent. Turnover improved significantly, to 111.3 million euros from Tuesday’s 90.2 million.