Broad-based gains lead index close to 3,000 pts

Stocks posted gains on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) for the fifth session in a row yesterday, propelling the index closer to 3,000 points. The session was marked by interest in small-capitalization stocks and an increase in turnover. The ASE general index closed at 2,944.33 points, a gain of 31.63 points or 1.09 percent. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips gained 0.79 percent to close at 1,644.24 points, while mid- and small-caps gained 0.57 percent and 1.32 percent respectively. Electricity utility PPC gained 3.39 percent to close at a 52-week high of 22.54 euros, following the raising of its target price by investment bank Credit Suisse First Boston to 27 euros from 25 previously. Other firms that reached similar highs were refiners Hellenic Petroleum and Motor Oil and metals group Viohalco. Significant blue chip gainers included Intracom (up 4.74 percent to 4.42 euros), Hellenic Technodomiki TEV (3.65 percent to 3.98 euros), Folli-Follie (2.46 percent to 23.28 euros), EFG Eurobank (2.32 percent to 25.54 euros), CosmOTE (1.93 percent to 14.82 euros) and Coca-Cola HBC (17.92 euros). Out of 356 traded stocks, 230 gained, 73 declined and 53 ended unchanged. Turnover rose to 213.08 million euros, including 17.62 million in prearranged trades.