ECONOMY

Index nears 2,200 pts as ASE follows Europe

Shares closed almost 1 percent higher yesterday on the back of a strong European session, with gaming group OPAP basking in the spotlight for the second day in a row. «There was some domestic news flow affecting the session, but today has been about a buoyant Europe, mostly Germany, which helped sentiment and gave the upside a chance,» a trader said. The general share index closed 0.89 percent up at 2,198.23 points, following European markets that were led higher by strong telecoms and oil stocks. Pools and gaming group OPAP gained 3.04 percent to 11.52 euros, having hit an all-time high of 11.64 euros intrasession, on market talk the firm is thinking of paying an extraordinary dividend on top of a recent interim dividend. «The dividend business might be just a rumor of course, but in any case OPAP is always a very attractive share for us. Research also suggests that fair price lies around 12.50 euros or higher,» said an analyst who refused to be named. Index heavyweight OTE rose 1.72 percent to 10.62 euros on what traders said was an expected rebound. Turnover rose to 150.59 million euros, with 28.2 million shares changing hands. Decliners trailed advancers 115 to 169, with 69 stocks ending unchanged. (Reuters)