ECONOMY

Interest in banks, OTE continues to drive ASE

Shares rose on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) yesterday due to continued interest by investors in OTE Telecom and bank shares. Last week, reports from two Swiss banks said the abovementioned stocks were undervalued, sparking investor interest. The ASE general index closed at 2,356.71 points, a gain of 12.35 points or 0.53 percent. It is the first time after 36 sessions that it has closed above 2,350 points. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips gained 0.79 percent to close at 1,273.15 points. Mid-caps gained 0.16 percent, but small-caps declined 0.18 percent. Four out of the five major banks gained: EFG Eurobank Ergasias (2.12 percent to 18.32 euros), National Bank (1.41 percent to 18.76 euros), Alpha Bank (1.16 percent to 20.94 euros) and Piraeus Bank (0.85 percent to 9.44 euros). Other blue chips that gained included OTE and mobile telecoms subsidiary CosmOTE (0.90 percent and 1.18 percent, respectively), jewelry maker and retailer Folli-Follie (0.93 percent) and state lottery firm OPAP (0.64 percent). Of the 350 traded stocks, 113 gained, 151 declined and 86 ended unchanged. Turnover was 94.67 million euros, including 4.78 million in prearranged trades.