New year-high, but little trade volume at bourse

Stocks reached yet another year-high on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday, in a session marked by thin trading. The ASE general index closed at 2,766.15 points, a gain of 29.64 points or 1.08 percent. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips gained 1.18 percent to close at 1,536.38 points, while mid- and small-caps gained 1.29 percent and 0.78 percent, respectively. This was the highest closing since November 2001, when the market was in the middle of its protracted bear phase (September 1999-March 2003) during which it declined 77 percent. It has gained 22.20 percent this year. Several blue chips recorded year-highs. These were OTE Telecom (up 1.82 percent to 13.44 euros), EFG Eurobank Ergasias (1.79 percent to 24.98 euros), Piraeus Bank (1.76 percent to 12.72 euros), National Bank (1.26 percent to 24.20 euros), Alpha Bank (1.20 percent to 25.38 euros) and Cosmote (0.55 percent to 14.62 euros). Out of the 348 traded stocks, 182 gained, 105 declined and 61 ended unchanged. Turnover was 117.26 million euros, including 24.18 million in pre-arranged trades. The most heavily traded stocks, by number of shares sold, were investment firm Arrow, IT firms Lannet and Infoquest and software maker and publisher Ipirotiki.