ECONOMY

Investors back in force as index clears 3,000

Stocks broke through the 3,000-point level yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) after spending 15 sessions below that level as investors bought across the board. The ASE general index closed at 3,020.63 points, a gain of 25.82 points or 0.86 percent. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips gained 0.88 percent to close at 1,692.18 points, while mid- and small-caps gained 0.88 percent and 1.41 percent respectively. Once again, Emporiki Bank was heavily sought, on the basis of rumors of an impending agreement with France’s Credit Agricole to take over the bank’s management. At present, Credit Agricole holds an 11 percent stake. Emporiki gained 5.3 percent to close at 23.06 euros. There was also buying interest in Alpha Bank (up 2.33 percent to 28.98 euros) and Eurobank (1.50 percent to 25.68 euros). Other blue chips with significant gains included Public Power Corporation (2.48 percent to 22.34 euros) and OPAP (2.16 percent to 22.68 euros). Motor Oil continued its rise, this time gaining 0.80 percent to close at 12.60 euros and setting yet another 52-week high. Out of 336 traded stocks, 199 gained, 81 declined and 56 ended unchanged. Turnover increased significantly to 158.84 million euros, including 21.5 million in prearranged trades.