Narrow-based rise as most investors abstain

Shares closed marginally higher yesterday, with banks and holding companies helping lift an otherwise lackluster session. The Athens Stock Exchange general index closed at 2,361.83 points, a rise of 3.78 points or 0.16 percent. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips rose 0.39 percent to close at 1,268.65 points, but mid-caps and small-caps dropped 0.28 percent and 1.10 percent, respectively. National Bank of Greece rose 1.42 percent – its sixth rising session in a row – to close at 18.42 euros. A report presented yesterday by UBS indicates a target price of 20 euros per share. The same report encourages investors to buy shares in all other big banks and sets price targets of 28.33 euros for Alpha Bank, 23 euros for EFG Eurobank Ergasias, 13 euros for Piraeus Bank and 29.30 euros for Emporiki. Yesterday, Alpha closed at 21.24 euros, EFG Eurobank at 17.90, Piraeus at 9.34 and Emporiki at 20.36. Other blue chip gainers included Viohalco (2.58 percent), Hellenic Petroleum (1.17 percent) and Coca-Cola HBC (1 percent). Of the 350 stocks traded, 76 gained, 201 declined and 73 remained unchanged. Turnover was 65.41 million euros, of which 6.5 million concerned prearranged transfers of share blocks.