Market resumes upward course; blue chips lead

Shares ended a two-day losing streak on Friday with strong gains as buying appetite for banks and telecom stocks returned after a correction to a new year rally. «Banks rebounded today with buying interest emerging after the recent correction and investors continuing to discount a positive outlook for the sector this year,» said analyst Costas Sinanidis at Egnatia Securities. The benchmark general share index rose 1.71 percent to 2,432.58 points but was 2.0 percent down on the week. Across Europe, stocks headed south after data showed the US economy grew at a slower-than-expected pace in the fourth quarter. Banks outperformed with gains of 2.54 percent, bolstered by a 3.93 percent jump in Alpha Bank to 24.84 euros. Bellwether National Bank added 2.80 percent to 22.06 euros after a weeklong slide, while EFG Eurobank rose 1.50 percent to 16.20 euros. Telecom stocks also attracted buying interest after investors booked short-term gains during the week. OTE gained 2.67 percent to 12.32 euros, while its mobile arm CosmOTE traded 3.72 percent higher at 11.70 euros. Turnover rose to 190.91 million euros, with 33.56 million shares changing hands. Winners beat losers 241 to 65, with 48 unchanged. (Reuters)

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