Weak buying interest gives index a nudge

Encouraged by optimism in other European bourses yesterday, investors in the Athens Stock Exchange renewed a rather subdued buying interest in blue chips, particularly banks, sending the general index up 0.84 percent to 2,135.27 points. Three blue chips in particular put up a strong performance, Alpha Bank, which gained 1.90 percent, Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company, which advanced 2.65 percent, and Piraeus Bank, which rose 2.80 percent. The blue chip FTSE/ASE-20 index gained 0.88 percent, mid-caps were 0.66 percent higher. Buying interest also spread to small-caps, which rose 1.16 percent. Among sectoral indices, basic metals recorded the biggest gains, 2.35 percent, followed by construction, 1.89 percent, and printing & publishing, 1.80 percent. Only two of the sectoral indices closed with losses, minerals & cement and food & beverages. Nevertheless, overall marketability remained at low levels, with turnover reaching only 91.7 million euros. Traders said the number of transactions was too low to lift prices. The lack of weighty business developments made matters worse, they said. Winners outnumbered decliners 200 to 94, with 57 unchanged on 351 traded.

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