ECONOMY

National, Eurobank help pull index up

Shares ended higher yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), mainly because of investor interest in National Bank and Eurobank. Otherwise, interest was limited, since, as market insiders claimed, investors are waiting for Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis’s speech at the Thessaloniki International Fair, where he will outline the economic policy to be followed next year. The Athens Stock Exchange general index closed at 2,328.71 points, a rise of 15.81 points or 0.68 percent. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips gained 0.92 percent to close at 1,247.32 points, while mid-caps and small-caps gained 0.05 percent and 0.22 percent, respectively. National Bank gained 2.38 percent to close at 18.04 euros and Eurobank rose 1.12 percent to close at 18.12 euros. Eurobank also sold a million of its shares, or 0.32 percent of the total, to an equity fund it owns, at 17.84 euros per share. Other blue chips that gained significantly included Hellenic Technodomiki (4.37 percent to 3.34 euros), Duty Free Shops (2.05 percent to 13.96 euros) and Titan (1.83 percent to 20 euros). Of the 347 traded shares, 143 gained, 116 dropped and 88 ended unchanged. Turnover was 91.17 million euros, including 25.04 million in prearranged trades, the biggest of which was the Eurobank deal.