OTE and banks take index closer to 2,500 pts

The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) general index rebounded to its highest level since May 14, propelled by strong buying interest in blue chips. It closed at 2,489.19 points with gains of 1.05 percent after rising 1.44 percent in intrasession trading, close to the 2,500-point barrier. OTE Telecom was at the center of buying interest by foreign institutional investors. It closed 3.76 percent up at 12.14 euros after investment bank Morgan Stanley raised its target price 11 percent to 13.90 euros while keeping its «overweight» recommendation. Among sectoral indices, only retail commerce and real estate headed south. Banks rose 1.42 percent, led by Eurobank with gains of 2.29 percent. Emporiki advanced 2.40 percent and Alpha 2.95 percent, but National Bank lagged with gains of 0.55 percent. Credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s said in a report on Thursday that Greek banks faced attractive prospects despite still higher risk factors than elsewhere in the EU. Blue chips advanced 1.27 percent, mid-caps 0.90 percent and small-caps 0.72 percent. Turnover rose still further to 187.96 million euros. Advancers outnumbered decliners 190 to 90 on 358 traded. The most marketable securities were OTE, OPAP and National Bank.