ECONOMY

OPAP, public utilities lead index 0.76 pct up

Shares extended gains yesterday, led upward by gaming group OPAP, which hit an all-time high after a positive research report on the company. OPAP and bottler Coca-Cola HBC lifted the market today. But it is difficult to foresee a trend, «as that would depend on whether recent gainers can sustain their momentum,» said one trader. The general share index closed 0.76 percent higher at 2,485.02 points. OPAP jumped 9.32 percent to 15.48 euros after investment bank CSFB raised its price target on the stock, citing high expectations on group results, seen to be boosted by the growth of a new game. CSFB raised its target to 18 euros from a previous 16.50 euros and kept its «outperform» rating. It also raised its 2004 and 2005 earnings per share estimates by 5.7 percent and 8.0 percent respectively. There was also significant interest for Athens water and sewage company EYDAP, whose stock rose 4.73 percent and for the Piraeus and Thessaloniki port authorities, up 4.65 percent and 4.06 percent, respectively. Blue chips rose 0.60 percent, mid-caps nudged up 0.18 percent but small-caps fell 0.18 percent. Turnover increased to 147.40 million euros, with 21.17 million shares changing hands. Decliners led advancers 184 to 98. (Reuters, ANA)