ECONOMY

Index edges a breath away from 2,500 points

Stocks resumed their new year climb yesterday with small gains but a number of blue chips eased slightly after hitting fresh highs in recent sessions. The benchmark general share index rose 0.56 percent to 2,494.91 points, with gains over the week at 3.8 percent. «Today is the settlement day for futures, which could have contributed to weakness in some blue chips today. The market was also marked by soft profit-taking continuing from yesterday,» said portfolio manager Costas Bouropoulos at Kyklos Securities. Banks were mixed, with bellwether National Bank outperforming, with a rise of 1.11 percent to 23.64 euros, while over the week the stock has added 6.1 percent. Commercial Bank was another gainer, advancing 1.58 percent to 23.12 euros as it played catch-up with other banks. Alpha Bank inched down 0.15 percent to 26.70 euros but was 4.7 percent up over the week. EFG Eurobank closed 0.12 percent lower at 16.90 euros. Traders said the slight correction in banking stocks was expected as the sector had notched up double-digit gains since the start of the year, outperforming the wider market. Turnover fell to 213.22 million euros, with 33.5 million shares changing hands. Advancers outnumbered decliners 192 to 97, with 72 unchanged. (Reuters)