Banks lift index, but most stocks lose ground

Bank stocks came to the rescue of a predominantly seller market yesterday and helped end the session with slight gains. The Athens Stock Exchange general index ended at 2,334.56 points, a gain of 0.11 percent. Blue chips rose 0.26 percent, but mid- and small-caps fell 0.32 percent and 0.98 percent, respectively. National Bank of Greece and Alpha Bank, Greece’s two largest commercial banks, rose 1.14 percent and 0.95 percent respectively, driving the banks’ sectoral index up 0.68 percent. By contrast, OTE fell 1.38 percent to close below 10 euros (at 9.98) after several sessions. Decliners led advancers 199 to 80. Turnover rose over 100 million euros after several days – at 106.28 million – largely thanks to prearranged transfers of share blocks, worth 30.47 million euros. These transfers mainly concerned bottler Coca-Cola HBC (five blocks for a total of 561,500 shares), mobile telecommunications firm CosmOTE (three blocks, totaling 408,000 shares) and state betting company OPAP (two blocks, totaling 299,000 shares). CCHBC led all listed firms in turnover (22.88 million euros), followed by Alpha Bank (10.16 million), CosmOTE (10 million) and National Bank of Greece (9.5 million).