ECONOMY

Banks, OTE help push index 1.74 pct higher

Equities resumed their New Year advance yesterday, buoyed by strong European markets and buying interest that focused on index heavyweight bank stocks and OTE Telecom. «The market continued its New Year rally, lifted by the inflow of new funds and the positive mood across Europe,» said analyst Christos Samothrakis at Market Securities. «Investors expect blue chips to report improved results this year. The uptrend is expected to continue in the short term, driven by upbeat sentiment,» he added. The benchmark general share index added 1.74 percent to 2,446.19 points, tracking upbeat European bourses where shares rose on talk that Motorola and other companies had won business worth more than $2 billion in China. Banks rose 2.83 percent, buoyed by hopes of improved earnings this year. National Bank and Alpha Bank ended 3.84 percent and 1.88 percent higher respectively. OTE was another gainer, rising 2 percent to 12.22 euros. «OTE benefited from buying interest in large-caps (yesterday),» said Samothrakis. Turnover rose to 255.43 million euros, with 47.29 million shares changing hands. Advancers led decliners 301 to 37, with 26 unchanged. (Reuters)