ECONOMY

Turk shares, bonds firm

ISTANBUL – Turkish shares and bonds firmed yesterday, boosted by gains in European markets as the market discounted an expected US interest rate hike this week, brokers said. Markets shrugged off violent protests in Istanbul against a NATO summit being held in the city amid relief that there were no greater security scares. The main share index closed 2.05 percent higher at 17,710.37, extending gains of 2.76 percent on Friday. Yields on benchmark October 5, 2005 papers fell to 27.53 percent from 27.74 percent. The lira ended unchanged from Friday at 1,490,000 against the dollar. Pamukbank research director Taner Ozarslan said buying had been delayed last week in caution ahead of the summit. «There was a fear of global terrorism at the summit. The fact that nothing significant happened apart from a few incidents has brought uncertainty to an end,» Ozarslan said. Market sentiment was undermined last week by a bomb blast in Istanbul that killed four people and injured several others ahead of the NATO summit being held yesterday and today. US President George W. Bush is among world leaders at the summit. The share market was led higher yesterday by gains in the heavily weighted banking sector, with the sector index jumping 2.58 percent and Yapi Kredi Bankasi closing 3 percent higher at 3,425 lira. Among the most active shares, Garanti Bankasi climbed 4.17 percent to 4,375 lira. Garanti said on Friday it could strike a deal within a month to sell a controlling stake to Italy’s Banca Intesa, sooner than expected. Banca Intesa and family-owned Dogus Group, Garanti’s majority shareholders, said previously that negotiations would be finished before the end of September. Markets are expecting a quarter point hike in US interest rates at the end of the Federal Reserve meeting tomorrow, which would be the first hike in four years.