Banks, OTE propel index close to 2,900 points

Shares gained for the third session in a row on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) yesterday, with the index settling just below 2,900 points, a level not reached since the third quarter of 2001. Momentum was provided by banks and OTE Telecom, but there was also selective interest in small-capitalization stocks. The ASE general index closed at 2,892.45 points, a gain of 22.27 points or 0.78 percent. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips gained 1 percent to close at 1,616.80 points, while mid-caps and small-caps gained 0.03 percent and 0.76 percent respectively. OTE gained 2.52 percent to close at a year-high of 13.82 euros. National Bank also posted a year-high of 26.10 percent, having gained 1.16 percent. Other high-performing blue chips included Emporiki Bank (up 2.59 percent to 24.52 euros), Folli-Follie (2.32 percent to 22.92 euros) and Piraeus Bank (1.85 percent to 13.20 euros). Of the 349 traded stocks, 158 gained, 131 declined and 60 ended unchanged. Turnover declined to 177.69 million euros, including 21.81 million in prearranged trades. The most heavily traded stocks, by share volume, were those of Domus – more than a fifth of whose shares changed hands – Neochimiki, AEGEK’s common stock and OTE Telecom.