ECONOMY

General index approaches 1,900 points

Stocks rose yesterday as talk of consolidation continued to fuel a rally in shares of Greece’s smaller banks with the baton in the race for a linkup with Postal Savings Bank passing to General Bank. General advanced 10.61 percent to 5.42 euros, even though its management said earlier that it had nothing to announce on reports of a merger. The Athens benchmark general index rose a more sedate 1.78 percent to 1,896.58 points, crossing the 1,900-point mark intra-session. Banks rose 0.27 percent while telecoms rose 0.09 percent. Blue chips gained 1.58 percent to 949.63 points while mid-caps rose 2.76 percent and small-caps gained 1.3 percent. Turnover rose to 393.54 million euros, from Tuesday’s 154.93 million euros bolstered by the previously announced sale of 21.7 million shares in Hellenic Duty Free. A total of 73.8 million shares changed hands. Winners beat losers 230 to 84 with 51 shares unchanged on 365 traded. (Reuters)