Index at 41-month high on blue chip strength

Trading resumed with considerable new enthusiasm – albeit one-sided – at yesterday’s inaugural session for 2005 at the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), with the general index breaking yet through another barrier to close at 2,824.67 points, a 41-month high, with overall gains of 1.38 percent. Turnover reached 139.28 million euros. However, the bourse confirmed its recent picture of a two-speed market, as buying interest was predominantly focused on blue chips and a few mid-caps. The blue chip FTSE/ASE-20 index advanced 1.74 percent and the Mid-Cap-40 ended 0.64 percent higher, but the Small-Cap 80 dropped 0.88 percent. The ascent was led by banks and telecoms firms, whose sectoral indices ended 2.19 percent and 2.37 percent higher respectively. OTE gained 3.18 percent, Eurobank 2.85 percent, National Bank 2.80 percent, Intracom 3.02 percent, and CosmOTE and the Public Power Corporation 1.36 percent. Aluminium of Greece rebounded with gains of 5.66 percent after hitting its limit down last week, following the announcement of a deal for the acquisition of a 53 percent interest by Mytilineos group at a large discount. Decliners beat advancers 204 to 84, while 57 stock prices were unchanged.