Positive report on banks lifts index past 2,400 pts

Shares on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) rose to their highest level in almost four months yesterday, boosted by banks after a favorable report by Credit Suisse First Boston on the biggest three banks – National, Alpha and EFG Eurobank. The ASE general index closed at 2,406.75 points – a level not seen since June 16 – gaining 30.44 points or 1.28 percent. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips gained 1.57 percent to close at 1,311.42 points, while mid- and small-caps gained 1.14 percent and 0.84 percent respectively. Banks gained 2.49 percent. Among them, National gained 3.31 percent to breach the 20-euro level for the first time this year and close at 20.58 euros; EFG Eurobank gained 3.05 percent to close at 19.60 euros, also a year-high; and Alpha gained 2.82 percent to 22.06 euros. National also gained because of rumors that DEKA, the state’s portfolio management firm, was about to offload part of its holdings in National. OTE also gained significantly (2.05 percent) without making up for Wednesday’s fall, while mobile telecommunications subsidiary CosmOTE gained 1.31 percent. Out of 359 traded shares, 183 gained, 95 declined and 81 ended unchanged. Turnover rose to 172.83 million euros, including 24.30 million on prearranged trades.