ECONOMY

Banks’ 9-month results boost index 0.82 percent

Shares extended gains yesterday after two major banks beat market expectations with strong nine-month results, reinforcing hopes the upward trend is sustainable. «Good corporate nine-month earnings and the positive climate across Europe boosted investor confidence today and raised hopes that the market can sustain its upward momentum,» said analyst Nikos Kolios at Dynamic Securities. The general share index rose 0.82 percent to 2,194.99 points, while European stocks hit fresh 2003 highs after the release of strong US employment data. Alpha Bank, Greece’s second largest lender by assets, added 1.10 percent to 20.24 euros, just 22 cents shy of a year-high of 20.46 set on August 25, as investors cheered its nine-month results. A better-than-expected 23.5 percent rise in nine-month group net profit after minorities announced after the market’s close on Thursday drove EFG Eurobank shares up 0.4 percent to 15.06 euros. Buying interest also spread to National Bank and Commercial Bank which added 1.08 percent and 2.01 percent, respectively, to close at 18.72 euros and 19.28 euros. Turnover fell to 135.80 million euros, with 25.7 million shares changing hands. Advancers outnumbered decliners 175 to 118, with 70 shares ending unchanged. (Reuters)