Rebounding blue chips push index to year-high

Stocks gained yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) to close at a new year-high, as several blue chip stocks rebounded and interest in medium-capitalization stocks continued. The ASE general index closed at 2,688.66 points, a gain of 25.14 points or 0.94 percent, a level last seen in early December 2001. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips gained 0.91 percent to close at 1,469.61 points, while mid-caps and small-caps gained 1.99 percent and 0.79 percent respectively. There was great interest in companies involved in betting, with software equipment provider and gamer Intralot gaining 8.77 percent and state betting agency OPAP rising 1.48 percent to close at 19.14 euros. Other gaining blue chips included Alpha Bank (up 1.42 percent to 24.28 euros), OTE (1.46 percent to 12.50 euros), CosmOTE (1.31 percent to 13.94 euros), National Bank (1.32 percent to 23.10 euros) and Duty Free Shops (2.07 percent to 13.78 euros). Of the 361 traded stocks, 183 gained, 104 declined and 74 ended unchanged. Turnover rose to just over 194 million euros, including 28.79 million in prearranged trades of blocks of shares. The latter included a block of 1,278,740 shares of construction company Olympic Technical, which changed hands at 4.32 euros.