Banks and telecoms lead a firm rebound

Shares ended firmer yesterday, underpinned by buying interest in bank and telecom stocks as investors took heart from the rally across Europe. The benchmark general share index gained 1.99 percent to 2,163.18 points. Foreign investors were at the forefront of the wave of buying, especially in bank stocks, traders said. Bellwether National Bank ended 3.22 percent stronger at 18.58 euros, its highest level in nearly a month. Alpha Bank rose 1.95 percent to 19.82 euros, not far from a year-high of 20.46 euros set on August 25. Alpha is due to report nine-month results on November 7. Buying interest spread to heavyweight OTE and its mobile subsidiary CosmOTE which added 1.87 percent and 1.82 percent, respectively, to 9.82 euros and 10.06 euros. Analysts said reports indicating OTE is close to acquiring a 9 percent stake held by Norway’s Telenor in its mobile arm drew a positive response from investors. Electricity utility Public Power Corporation (PPC) ended 0.22 percent down at 18.50 euros, erasing earlier gains. Blue chips rose 2.04 percent, mid-caps gained 2.15 percent and small-caps jumped 3.50 percent. Turnover fell to 192.88 million euros, with 35.5 million shares changing hands. Advancers outnumbered decliners 315 to 30, with 21 unchanged against 366 traded. (Reuters)