ECONOMY

Foreign institutionals return to blue chips

Trading on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) was marked on the whole by a positive climate, with a strong presence by foreign institutions who resumed purchases, mainly of bank stocks. Turnover rose considerably above the average levels of recent days. The general index gained 24.38 points, or 1.08 percent, to 2,282.26. The blue chip FTSE/ASE 20 index gained 1.46 percent, mainly propelled by banks which rose 2.65 percent, outperforming all other sectors. Alpha Bank was up 3.21 percent, National advanced 3.17 percent, Emporiki 2.89 percent and Eurobank 2.19 percent. OTE Telecom was up 0.40 percent. The construction and holdings sectoral indices both ended 2.19 percent higher. Only telecoms and retail commerce headed south, 0.15 percent and 0.84 percent respectively. Mid-caps gained 1.10 percent and small-caps advanced 0.39 percent. Turnover reached 88.53 million euros, of which 29.31 million was block trades. One such block was 1.79 million shares of Piraeus Real Estate at 4.60 euros by parent Piraeus Bank, representing a 9.63 percent interest. Another was for 50,000 shares of Alpha Bank at 19.14 euros. Advancers outnumbered decliners 174 to 85, with 89 unchanged on 348 traded.