Rising trend continues with banks still strong

Shares closed higher on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) yesterday, once again driven by bank stocks. The ASE general index closed at 2,422.17 points, a gain of 10.44 points or 0.43 percent. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips gained 0.62 percent to close at 1,329.42 points. Mid-caps gained 0.29 percent and small-caps declined 0.70 percent. National Bank gained 0.86 percent to close at a year-high of 21 euros. Piraeus, Emporiki and Alpha also gained (2.03 percent, 1.56 percent and 0.91 percent respectively), while Agricultural Bank (up 3.37 percent) and subsidiary Agrotiki Insurance (16.15 percent) continued to climb on rumors that a group restructuring is imminent. Other rising blue chips included Hellenic Duty-Free Shops (up 3.14 percent to 12.12 euros), Folli-Follie (2.95 percent to 23.70 euros), OPAP (1.98 percent) and Titan (1.54 percent). By contrast, construction stocks continued to face pressure, with Aktor and Hellenic Technodomiki declining 5.23 percent and 4.25 percent, respectively. Of the 358 traded stocks, 130 gained, 156 declined and 72 ended unchanged. Turnover rose to 116.18 million euros, including 27.58 million in prearranged trades of share blocks.