Index rises as investors expect big Q1 earnings

Shares rose yesterday on the back of great expectations for the upcoming earnings season, with gaming operator OPAP remaining a top pick and banks boosted by good sentiment in Europe. «There is once again a positive momentum in the market after OPAP opened the earnings season on a good note, as well as on the back of dynamic performances in international markets,» said Charalambos Papadimitriou, analyst at Intersec. The general index rose 1.41 percent to 2,452.98 points. Shares in OPAP, the most heavily traded stock, climbed 3.35 percent to new all-time highs of 14.20 euros, extending Wednesday’s rally after price target upgrades from CSFB and UBS. The stock has climbed 12 percent since it announced forecast-beating results on Tuesday, boosting its market value by almost 400 million euros. Banking heavyweight National Bank closed 2.76 percent up at 22.38 euros, spreading good cheer along the banking sector, which rose over 2 percent. Blue chips rose 1.64 percent, with mid-caps and small-caps rising 1 percent and 0.76 percent, respectively. Turnover rose to 170.40 million euros, with 32.2 million shares changing hands. Advancers led decliners 213 to 88, with 53 unchanged. (Reuters)