Banks, telecoms propel index close to year high

Stocks rose sharply on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday, led by bank and telecom stocks. The ASE general index closed at 2,635.43 points, just nine points short of the year’s closing high, a gain of 60.93 points or 2.37 percent. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips gained 2.57 percent to close at 1,454.63 points, while mid-caps and small-caps gained 1.42 percent and 1.20 percent, respectively. EFG Eurobank topped other stocks in its sector with a 4.81 percent rise, closing at 21.80 euros. Alpha Bank gained 3.72 percent to 23.98 euros; Piraeus 2.78 percent to 11.82 euros; Emporiki 2.04 percent to 22.96 euros and National 1.48 percent to 23.28 euros. OTE halted its slide, gaining 2.30 percent to close at 12.26 euros, while mobile telecommunications subsidiary CosmOTE gained 4.10 percent to close at 13.72 euros. Other blue chips that gained included Intracom (3.89 percent to 3.74 euros), OPAP (2.78 percent to a year-high 19.24 euros) and Titan (2.39 percent to 20.58 euros). Of 360 traded shares, 225 gained, 73 declined and 62 ended unchanged. Turnover was almost the same as on Thursday, at just under 152 million euros, including 18.3 million in prearranged trades, most of which concerned CosmOTE shares.