ECONOMY

National Bank drives market 0.41 pct higher

Shares rose yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) for the third session in a row, with National Bank attracting a good deal of attention this time, thanks to a favorable report on its stock by JP Morgan. The ASE general index closed at 2,366.41 points, a gain of 9.70 points or 0.41 percent. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips gained 0.62 percent, while mid- and small-caps declined 0.10 percent and 0.19 percent respectively. National Bank gained 2.77 percent to close at 19.28 euros. The JP Morgan report has set a price target of 24 euros and National is among its preferred banking stocks at European level. Among other bank stocks, Emporiki gained 0.77 percent, EFG Eurobank 0.76 percent and Alpha Bank 0.29 percent. Other blue chips that gained included PPC (0.81 percent) and Hellenic Petroleum (0.62 percent). By contrast, OTE Telecom fell 0.36 percent and mobile telephony subsidiary CosmOTE 1.02 percent. Out of 352 traded stocks, 129 gained, 136 declined and 87 ended unchanged. Turnover rose to 123.90 million euros, with National Bank accounting for over a quarter of the total (31.74 million). The turnover figure included 7.77 million in prearranged trades of share blocks.