ECONOMY

ASE driven by CosmOTE, Eurobank Q1 profits

Shares on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) ended with gains of about 1 percent, reclaiming the 2,500 mark, with buying interest fueled by strong first-quarter earnings by CosmOTE and EFG Eurobank Ergasias. «The market is on course to go higher after breaching the 2,500 mark. Good corporate earnings and passive fund inflows after the MSCI index rejig are helping,» said a trader. The general share index closed 1.08 percent up at 2,500.58 points. CosmOTE fell 0.30 percent to 13.40 euros, reversing early gains after it unveiled a higher-than-expected rise in first-quarter group net profit as clients and usage increased. «CosmOTE’s results were very good. The share drop was due to investors booking gains after its recent climb,» said analyst Manos Mavroyenis at Laiki Attalos Securities. Parent OTE finished 1.99 percent higher at 11.30 euros as investors cheered the first management change at the telecom group under its new chief executive. OTE’s board appointed Iakovos Georganas as vice president late Wednesday, replacing George Skarpelis. Blue chips advanced 1.25 percent, mid-caps rose 0.66 percent, while small-caps added 0.72 percent. Turnover nudged down to 158.62 million euros, with 20.8 million shares changing hands. Winners outnumbered losers 168 to 117. (Reuters)