ECONOMY

Interest in bank stocks propels index upward

Shares rose again on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) yesterday, due to increased investor interest, especially in bank stocks. The ASE general index closed at 2,360.71 points, a gain of 23.16 points or 0.99 percent. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips gained 1.06 percent to close at 1,286.32 points, while mid- and small-caps gained 0.78 percent and 0.43 percent, respectively. EFG Eurobank Ergasias attracted the biggest interest, with just under a million shares changing hands and the stock rising 2.34 percent to yet another year-high of 19.26 euros. National Bank gained 1.26 percent to close at 19.78 euros, while the three other big banks were also gainers (Piraeus, 1.06 percent; Alpha, 0.86 percent; Emporiki, 0.78 percent). Other blue chip gainers included cement company Titan (up 2.04 percent to a year-high of 20.98 euros), mobile telecoms firm CosmOTE (2.92 percent to 13.40 euros), electronics retailer Germanos (1.74 percent to 18.72 euros), Hellenic Petroleum (1.18 percent to 6.88 euros), state betting agency OPAP (0.78 percent to 15.60 euros) and OTE Telecom (0.36 percent to 11.22 euros). Out of 353 traded stocks, 158 gained, 96 declined and 99 ended unchanged. Turnover rose slightly to 128.60 million euros, including 28.48 million in prearranged trades.