ECONOMY

Bourse boosted by bank merger talk, tax on repos

Late-session buying lifted the Athens bourse 2.05 percent higher yesterday as positive momentum in banks and telecoms led the market to its fourth straight session of gains. Brokers said a new tax on interest earned on repurchase agreements (repos) along with lingering merger talk in banks helped boost sentiment but warned of the bourse’s sudden climb. Merger talk in the banking sector is still warm while improved turnover helped the broader market absorb intraday selling pressure, said Grigoris Karagiannopoulos, analyst at Bank of Cyprus Securities. The general index ended at 2,763.30 points, up 108.47 points or 4.08 percent for the week. Banks, index heavyweights, added 3.03 percent. Blue chips on the FTSE/ASE-20 index added 2.33 percent to 1,531.45 points. Mid-caps on the bourse’s FTSE/ASE-40 index advanced 1.45 percent while small-caps added 2.05 percent. We have only seen a few small corrections during this recent positive run. This makes us cautious, said another broker. Many victims cross the first frontier using valid passports, only to be stripped of their papers and sold on once abroad. Citizens of most aspiring EU member states need no visa to visit Western Europe, making trade outside the region tough to detect.