Blue chips propel index past 2,300 pts

Blue chips, led by banks, yesterday sustained a recent rally on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), whose general index rose 34.05 points, 1.50 percent, to reach a new year-high of 2,310.52 points. National Bank surged for a second consecutive day, rising 2.47 percent to 20.72 euros. The bank sectoral index gained 2.05 percent. OTE Telecom, another heavyweight, helped boost the rally with gains of 1.95 percent to 11.48 euros. The blue-chip FTSE/ASE-20 index advanced 1.66 percent to 1,164.19 points; mid-caps rose 0.85 percent and small-caps gained 1.45 percent. Most sectoral indices registered gains, with refineries outperforming, at 3.87 percent higher, on the back of 11.82-percent gains for Motor Oil. Investment firms gained 2.48 percent and textiles 2.30 percent. Thirty-seven stocks reached new year-highs. Turnover fell to 187.7 million euros. Winners outnumbered decliners 207 to 119, with 44 unchanged on 370 traded.