The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) benchmark general index last week rose 0.98 percent to edge up over the 1,700-point mark, ending on Friday at 1,707.54 points. Total trade volume rose to 552.9 million euros (with an average per session of 110.58 million), up from 484.55 million euros (daily average of 96.91 million) the week before. Blue chips made the strongest gains while small-capitalization stocks were the only ones to show a loss, with the FTSE/ASE-80 dropping 0.38 percent. The blue chip FTSE/ASE-20 closed at 843.28 points, a rise of 1.01 percent. The mid-cap FTSE/ASE-40 gained 0.32 percent. As a result, the FTSE/ASE-140, a composite of the above three indices, closed 0.74 percent higher, at 1,954.03 points. Most sectoral indices registered gains, with refineries way ahead of the rest with a climb of 7.57 percent as Petrola shot up 28.3 percent on expectations of its merger with Hellenic Petroleum, which rose 5.96 percent. The investment sector was next, with a rise of 4.78 percent. Insurance and basic metals, however, dropped 2.45 percent and 2.33 percent, respectively. Among the 371 individual shares traded, 203 suffered losses, 139 made gains, and 29 remained unchanged. Viosol’s preferred stock made the greatest gain, with a 41.67 percent rise (after a loss of 27.27 percent the previous week) followed by Petrola. The biggest losers were Alter TV, which dropped 18.13 percent after a rise of 30.94 percent the previous week, followed by Balafas, with a drop of 16.88 percent.