Rising optimism pushes prices and turnover up

Shares headed higher for the second day in a row yesterday, tracking positive sentiment across Europe, with mid-cap stocks outperforming blue chips. The benchmark general share index added 0.88 percent to 2,177.14 points. Banks ended in positive terrain, with bellwether National Bank rising 0.98 percent to 18.52 euros. Alpha Bank, which is due to report nine-month earnings before the market’s open today, closed 1.11 percent firmer at 20.02 euros. News that Norwegian operator Telenor rejected OTE’s bid for 9 percent of its stake in CosmOTE weighed on the telecoms group. OTE shares fell 0.41 percent to close at 9.66 euros but CosmOTE gained 1.3 percent to 10.42 euros. Among the gainers, Public Power Corporation added 2.41 percent to 18.66 euros, not far from a year high of 19.08 euros set on October 27. The electricity utility’s free-float weighting factor in the FTSE/ASE stock index rose to 50 from 30 percent yesterday, following the recent sale of a 15.7 percent stake by the State. Turnover increased to 148.11 million euros, with 25.6 million shares changing hands. Winners outnumbered losers 255 to 57, with 49 ending unchanged. (Reuters)