Stocks rose significantly yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), as foreign institutionals appeared to regain interest, for the first time in several days, in bank stocks. This buying interest spread across the board and, as a result, turnover nearly doubled. The ASE general index closed at 2,961.66 points, a gain of 51.54 points or 1.77 percent. The FTSE/.ASE-20 index of blue chips gained 2.08 percent to close at 1,658.71 points, while mid-caps and small-caps gained 1.25 percent and 1.22 percent respectively. National was the best performer among big banks, gaining 3.36 percent to close at 27.72 euros. It was followed by Alpha Bank (up 3.26 percent to 27.28 euros), Piraeus Bank (2.52 percent to 14.66 euros) and EFG Eurobank (1.16 percent to 24.34 euros). Several other blue chips made significant gains. These were Hellenic Petroleum (up 2.71 percent to 8.34 euros), PPC (2.50 percent to 22.94 euros), OPAP (2.14 percent to 22.94 euros), Motor Oil (2.10 percent to 11.68 euros) and OTE (1.26 percent to 14.42 euros). Of 336 traded stocks, 171 gained, 95 declined and 70 ended unchanged. Turnover reached 191.58 million euros, including 9.90 million in prearranged trades.