ECONOMY

Bank stocks pull index up, but not above 2,300

Stocks rallied toward the end of yesterday’s session on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) to allow the general index to finish in positive territory, after having slumped by as much as 0.80 percent. It was interest in bank stocks that was responsible for the turnaround. The fact that Alpha, Emporiki and Piraeus banks all reached year-lows last week made them more attractive for buyers. Shares responded accordingly, rising 2.37 percent, 0.71 percent and 2.59 percent respectively. The ASE general index closed at 2,297.21 points, a rise of 6.31 points or 0.28 percent. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips rose 0.39 percent, with mid- and small-caps rising 0.48 percent and 0.52 percent respectively. OTE Telecom gained 0.40 percent to close at 10.12 euros, while its mobile telecommunications subsidiary CosmOTE declined 0.90 percent to close at 13.22 euros. Other blue chips that gained included Public Power Corporation (0.11 percent) and Hellenic Petroleum (0.59 percent). Of the 345 stocks traded, 155 gained, 115 declined and 75 ended unchanged. Turnover was a very low 68.19 million euros, including 9.65 million in prearranged share block transactions.