ECONOMY

Banks, lifted by foreign fund inflows, pep index

Shares closed up almost 1 percent yesterday, led by banks, with foreign fund inflows into heavyweight Alpha Bank and Piraeus Bank related to an MSCI index rejig, traders said. The benchmark general share index added 0.98 percent to 2,156.13 points. «On the whole, the banking sector benefited from MSCI upping the weighting of Alpha Bank and Piraeus, which brought in increased interest from foreign funds,» said analyst Thomas Aheimastos at Kyklos Securities. Shares in Alpha, Greece’s second largest bank by assets, closed at a new year-high. The stock will see its investibility weightings on MSCI’s 20-share Greece benchmark rise to 0.90 from 0.80, effective after November 28. Alpha shares closed 2.97 percent up at 22.22 euros. Piraeus Bank, which also sees its investibility weight rising to 0.90 from 0.70, added 3.22 percent to 8.34 euros. Mobile operator Vodafone-Panafon rose 0.33 percent to 6.10 euros after forecast-beating results, with traders saying further gains were unlikely as the market expects its UK-based parent Vodafone to make an offer for Panafon’s remaining free-float in the 5.94-euro to 6.14-euro range. Turnover rose to 162.85 million euros, with 29.8 million shares changing hands. Advancers outnumbered decliners 163 to 136, with 64 ending unchanged. (Reuters)