ECONOMY

Index rebounds; buyers turn to banks, CosmOTE

Shares rebounded on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) yesterday, with mobile operator CosmOTE among the standout gainers on hopes of robust first-quarter earnings, while parent OTE extended a five-day slide. «The market recovered today on the back of a bounce in European shares, with banks leading the advance,» said analyst Costas Vergos at Pentedekas Securities. «The general index ended within a whisker of the intrasession high, which technically means it could head higher tomorrow,» he added. The general share index finished 1.19 percent higher at 2,450.01 points. OTE lost 2.84 percent to 10.96 euros, its lowest closing level since January 2, as concerns over its dispute with the telecoms regulator and first-quarter profit outlook took their toll. Mobile arm CosmOTE outperformed, rising 3.01 percent to 13.0 euros. Emporiki Bank was another bright spot, gaining 3.85 percent to 24.28 euros, a fresh year-high. Analysts expect on average a 16 percent rise in first-quarter group pretax profit. Blue chips added 1.36 percent, mid-caps rose 1.28 percent and small-caps gained 1.20 percent. Turnover increased to 154.85 million euros, with 21.95 million shares changing hands. Winners outnumbered losers 213 to 86. (Reuters)