ECONOMY

Blue chips help market get close to 2,500 pts

Shares extended gains yesterday, with hotel operator Hyatt Regency leading the blue chip advance after its inclusion in MSCI’s Greece index effective end-May. «Institutional investors are setting the tone for the market, while retail investors appear to be staying by the sidelines, widening the performance gap between the blue chip and mid-cap indices,» said analyst Stavros Christodoulou at Guardian Trust. The general share index ended 0.97 percent higher at 2,473.84 points, outperforming European markets, which dipped on concerns about the impact price inflation and higher interest rates would have on global growth. Hyatt gained 5.37 percent to 9.02 euros. Emporiki Bank closed 2.31 percent down at 23.72 euros after reporting a sharp fall in first-quarter group pretax profit on higher provisions and operating costs. The bank said group pretax profit after minorities fell 52.4 percent to 16.4 million euros. Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast on average a 16 percent rise. Blue chips added 0.95 percent but mid-caps lost 0.17 percent and small-caps retreated 0.51 percent. Turnover edged up to 162.31 million euros, with 20.5 million shares changing hands. Losers outnumbered winners 162 to 120. (Reuters)