Banks, telecoms push ASE near year-high

Shares ended higher on Thursday, within sight of a year-high of 2,199.52 points as banks and telecoms surged ahead, underpinning positive investor sentiments. The benchmark general share index advanced 1.32 percent to 2,190.81 points. Blue chips rose 1.43 percent to 1,096.12 points. «Talk about mergers and stake sales among banks pushed up the broader market. The momentum swept telecoms along as well,» said trader Andreas Alexiou at Beta Securities. Banks gained 1.36 percent, with Commercial Bank moving up 2.17 percent to 17.92 euros. Bellwether National Bank and EFG Eurobank rose 1.33 percent and 1.67 percent respectively to 18.28 euros and 14.58 euros. OTE Telecom and CosmOTE stood out, with gains of 1.82 percent and 2.49 percent respectively to 11.18 euros and 10.72 euros. Turnover rose to 137.80 million euros, with 28.36 million shares changing hands. Winners beat losers 267 to 60, with 38 unchanged on 365 shares traded. (Reuters)