Heightened interest in OTE shares boosts index

Shares rose on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) yesterday, owing to great investor interest in certain blue chips, especially OTE Telecom. By contrast, there was very little interest in small-capitalization stocks. The ASE general index closed at 2,343.80 points, a rise of 16.43 points or 0.71 percent. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips gained 0.74 percent to close at 1,260.31 points. Mid- and small-caps also rose, 0.46 percent and 0.26 percent respectively. OTE rose 2.21 percent to close at 11.10 euros on the back of an upgrade by investment bank Goldman Sachs to «in-line» from «underperform.» Goldman Sachs cited the likelihood of a company restructuring plan that will include voluntary redundancies, as well as the possibility of a cut in the corporate tax rate as reasons for the upgrade. Investor interest from abroad led to more than 2 million OTE shares, worth 22.83 million euros, changing hands. Other blue chips that gained included Duty-Free Shops (3.44 percent), Intracom (3.29 percent), Germanos, which announced the acquisition of Daewoo’s mobile telecoms operation in Uzbekistan (2.99 percent), and Coca-Cola HBC (2.21 percent). Of the 347 stocks traded, 125 gained, 127 declined and 95 ended unchanged. Turnover rose to 115.26 million euros.