ECONOMY

Merger scenarios maintain the ASE’s momentum

Blue-chip gains led the Athens bourse to a 0.76-percent gain yesterday, with banks outperforming as merger scenarios drove the sector 1.14 percent higher. Brokers said speculation that more deals will follow in the steps of the recent National-Alpha merger increased buying interest. Good news on Greece’s inflation front also helped support gains. There are a number of banks which the market sees merging. After the Alpha-National deal, others are expected to follow in order to remain competitive, said analyst Spyros Papathanasiou at Value Capital Securities. The Athens benchmark general index closed at 2,654.83 points, ending the week 123.6 points or 4.8 percent higher. It was the market’s fifth straight winning session. Commercial Bank jumped 7.23 percent to 37.38 euros. Blue chips on the FTSE/ASE-20 index added 0.78 percent to 1,476.77 points and telecom stocks rose 1.05 percent. Mid-caps on the bourse’s FTSE/ASE-40 index firmed 0.76 percent while small-caps rose 0.25 percent. Turnover was 212.20 million euros on volume of 43.2 million shares. Yugoslav and FYROM authorities claimed that ethnic Albanian militants are nothing more than terrorist groups. The ethnic Albanian rebels have said they are fighting for greater rights.