ECONOMY

Banks hold index back in rangebound session

Shares rose marginally yesterday, as the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) showed signs of stabilizing itself in a rangebound session. For the umpteenth time, after having followed European bourses lower on Wednesday, the ASE failed to follow them on their rebound yesterday mostly because of selling pressure on bank stocks. The ASE’s general index closed at 2,297.66 points, a rise of 1.01 points or 0.04 percent. It fluctuated between 2,292.54 and 2,308.03 points during the session. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips marginally declined (0.04 percent), while mid- and small-cap indices rose 0.14 percent and 0.03 percent respectively. Insurance stocks were the big gainers (4.45 percent), mainly because of the 6.08 percent rise of Ethniki Insurance, Greece’s biggest insurance firm. Other blue chip stocks that gained significantly yesterday were Aluminium of Greece (5.09 percent) and cement firm Titan (2.14 percent). Among banks, Eurobank and National declined 0.67 percent and 0.23 percent respectively. Piraeus Bank fell 1.12 percent. Of the 356 shares traded, 146 gained, 134 declined and 76 ended unchanged. Turnover was 90.90 million euros, including 12.25 million in prearranged share block transactions.