ECONOMY

Index above 2,500 pts as ASE hails ND victory

Shares held above the 2,500 mark on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) yesterday, led by bullish banks and OTE, as investors cheered a resounding victory for the conservative New Democracy party in Sunday’s polls. «Today’s stock rise clearly has to do with the size of ND’s poll victory which means a strong and stable government able to implement reforms,» said a fund manager. The general share index closed 0.59 percent up at 2,504.09 points, after hitting a two-year high of 2,551.51 points in early trading. Across Europe, stocks flirted with a fresh 20-month high, buoyed by gains in many of the region’s banks on more bullish takeover talk. Banks were standout gainers, with National Bank advancing 2.84 percent to 23.20 euros, Commercial Bank rising 2.01 percent to 21.28 euros and Alpha Bank adding 2.31 percent to 26.54 euros. «Rising European banking stocks and the general upbeat mood across Europe boosted sentiment in the sector,» said analyst Nikos Akitzidis at Axon Securities. Blue chips rose 1.20 percent but mid-caps and small-caps fell 0.25 percent and 0.66 percent, respectively. Turnover fell to 193.08 million euros, with 31.72 million shares changing hands. Advancers led decliners 164 to 139, with 56 unchanged. (Reuters)