Index up on sudden interest in blue chips

Shares ended in positive territory yesterday as investors snapped up attractively valued banking stocks and electricity utility Public Power Corporation (PPC) were seen reporting strong results. «Based on nine-month results, investors realize now that blue chips, especially banks, deserve to trade up,» said analyst Christos Samothrakis at Market Securities. The benchmark general share index nudged up 0.54 percent to 2,117.39 points. Bellwether National Bank added 1.66 percent to 18.38 euros, recovering from the previous day’s jitters after the government said it plans to sell up to 2.5 percent of its 7.5 percent stake to domestic pension funds. PPC advanced 1.53 percent to 18.54 points. Traders said expectations of strong nine-month results sparked off buying interest. Cosmote, which reported a lower-than-expected rise in third-quarter net profit on Thursday, shed 0.39 percent to 10.28 euros, while parent OTE, reporting results on November 26, rose 0.64 percent to 9.40 euros. Shares in luxury goods retailer Folli Follie outperformed, rising 5.41 percent to 19.88 euros after it lifted nine-month pretax profits by 82 percent to 44 million euros on Thursday. Turnover came to 102.92 million euros, with 20.22 million shares changing hands. Advancers outnumbered decliners 178 to 105, with 73 unchanged. (Reuters)