ECONOMY

Blue chips rebound on upbeat 2004 results

Greek shares rebounded yesterday after two straight losing sessions, in contrast to investor sentiment elsewhere in Europe, and with strong buying interest by foreign institutionals in blue chips. The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) general index gained 0.70 percent to close at 3,054.96 points. The rebound was based on Alpha Bank, which rose 3.59 percent after announcing higher-than-expected results for 2004, National Bank (up 1.18 percent ahead of the announcement of results today) and gaming firm OPAP, which surged 3.64 percent to a new year-high of 23.32 euros. Investment bank UPS upgraded OPAP’s target price from 23.9 to 27.5 euros, maintaining its «buy» recommendation. UPS and JP Morgan also upgraded their target price for Piraeus Bank from 19 to 14 euros respectively to 20 euros. The blue chip FTSE/ASE-20 index gained 0.96 percent, the FTSE/ASE Mid-40, 0.20 percent, while the FTSE/ASE Small-Cap 80 edged down 0.03 percent. The telecoms sectoral index continued declining, ending 0.23 percent down. Textiles, on the other hand, outperformed with a rise of 2.10 percent. Decliners outnumbered advancers 142 to 139, while 69 share prices remained unchanged. Turnover rebounded to 199.23 million euros.