Interest in banks helps index end losing run

Share prices rose slightly yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange, thanks mainly to renewed investor interest in bank stocks, interrupting a four-session cumulative decline of 3.05 percent. The ASE general index closed at 2,574.50 points, a gain of 10.80 points or 0.42 percent. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips gained 0.54 percent to close at 1,418.26 points. Mid-caps gained 0.12 percent, while small-caps declined 0.39 percent. Among banks, Piraeus gained 3.05 percent to close at 11.50 euros, Eurobank added 1.36 percent to close at 20.80 euros and National gained 0.70 percent to close at 22.94 euros. Emporiki and Alpha gained 0.36 percent and 0.35 percent, respectively. Other stronger blue chips included Duty Free Shops (up 2.64 percent to 13.22 euros), Coca-Cola HBC (2.09 percent to 18.58 euros), Germanos (1.54 percent to 21.12 euros), and PPC (1.14 percent to 19.52 euros), with investment bank Morgan Stanley announcing a target price of 22 euros for the latter. By contrast, OTE remained under pressure, losing 1.64 percent to close at 11.98 euros, despite Morgan Stanley assigning a target price of 13.90. Subsidiary CosmOTE gained 0.30 percent to close at 13.18 euros. Out of 357 traded shares, 114 gained, 159 declined and 84 ended unchanged. Turnover was 152.48 million euros.