ECONOMY

Index slightly higher in pre-holiday session

Shares closed slightly higher in thin pre-Easter holiday trade amid positive underlying sentiment, dealers said. The Athens Stock Exchange general index ended up 0.16 percent at 2,419.61 points, while the blue chip index gained 0.15 percent to 1,268.93 points. Mid-caps rose 0.38 percent and the small-cap index ended 0.19 percent higher. Banks closed up 0.16 percent, with National Bank of Greece up 0.27 percent at 22.34 euros, Alpha Bank flat at 25.76 and EFG Eurobank down 0.93 percent at 17.02 euros. Telecoms were 0.60 percent higher, with OTE rising 1.05 percent to 11.52 euros and its subsidiary CosmOTE flat at 12.50 euros. Energy monopoly PPC moved 1.03 percent higher to 21.52 euros, while state-controlled games operator OPAP declined 0.56 percent to 14 euros. Volume was a mere 85 million euros, a level not seen since March 2003, at the depths of the bear market. The most heavily traded stocks were Motor Oil, Despec Multimedia, Sex Form, OTE, Piraeus Bank, Delta Singular, Altec, OPAP, Atermon and Grigoris. Among the 356 shares traded, 165 gained, 105 declined and 86 were unchanged. Images & Sound led all gainers with a rise of 13.04 percent. On the other end, Corinth Pipeworks declined 11.65 percent.