Stocks continue their rise as oil prices decline

Shares extended gains for the second straight session yesterday at the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) with banks continuing their advance and industrial stocks gaining on news of further declines in global oil prices. «The market got a boost today from positive sentiment across Europe and the drop in global oil prices. There is further upside, with blue chips set to regain previous highs,» said analyst Nikos Kolios at Dynamic Securities. The general share index finished 1.10 percent up at 2,442.41 points, tracking European markets. Piraeus Bank added 1.05 percent to 9.62 euros, still basking in an upgrade by Moody’s Investors the previous day. Moody’s on Thursday raised to Baa1 from Baa2 the long-term foreign currency deposit rating of the bank. National Bank added 2.10 percent to 25.24 euros, in sight of a year high set in mid-May. Gains for gaming operator OPAP were marginal despite Smith Barney’s raising its target for the shares to 16.20 euros from 15.80 previously. OPAP shares closed 0.13 percent up at 15.72 euros. Blue chips advanced 1.50 percent, mid-caps were virtually flat while small-caps fell by 1.04 percent. Turnover rose to 171.83 million euros, with 24.39 million shares. Decliners led advancers 186 to 114. (Reuters)