Heavy interest in some blue chips lifts market

Stocks gained ground on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) yesterday, in a session marked by investor interest in certain blue chips and downward pressure on medium and small-capitalization stocks. Trade also rose significantly, with five stocks (OTE, National Bank, OPAP, Alpha Bank and Intralot) registering a turnover of over 20 million euros each and a sixth (PPC) just below that level. The ASE general index closed at 2,697.47 points, a gain of 15.47 points or 0.58 percent. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips gained 0.75 percent to close at 1,486.99 points, while the mid-cap and small-cap indices declined 0.30 percent and 0.71 percent respectively. Gainers among blue chips included OTE (up 1.89 percent to 12.96 euros), OPAP (1.87 percent to 19.56 euros) and National (1.81 percent to 23.58 euros). The latter was boosted by a JP Morgan report setting a price target of 30 euros. By contrast, a report by Morgan Stanley, expecting PPC’s stock to underperform and reducing the target price to 19 euros, from 22 previously, caused the latter to decline 1.97 percent to close at 19.94 euros. Of 342 stocks traded, 83 gained, 185 declined and 74 ended unchanged. Turnover was 223.50 million euros, including 52.17 million in prearranged trades.