ECONOMY

Index gains as National Bank leaps over 5 percent

Gains of more than 5 percent in index heavyweight National Bank led the Athens bourse higher yesterday, after a slew of research notes helped boost sentiment in the stock and the sector. «An upbeat feeling in banks helped lift the broader market. The research notes helped improve the neutral sentiment,» said Marinos Giourgas, broker at Market Securities. The Athens bourse’s benchmark general index ended at 2,597.38 points after a nervous start. National Bank – the session’s heaviest-traded stock – ended up 5.07 percent, at 26.52 euros, and Alpha Bank firmed 0.41 percent to 19.38 euros. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips advanced 1.84 percent to 1,417.76 points. Schroder Salomon Smith Barney (SSSB) said yesterday it expects Greek shares to trade in line with the rest of Europe in 2002 and sees an 8-percent upside for the FTSE/ASE-20 index of large-caps. The FTSE/ASE-40 index of mid-caps rose 1.18 percent and small-caps gained 1.21 percent. Bourse newcomer closed-end fund Nexus gained 9.45 percent to 2.20 euros from its IPO price of 2.01 euros. (Reuters) MEMPHIS, Tennessee – Greek cotton prices have been given a boost by increased demand, mainly from Turkish buyers along with those from the Far East, Cotton Outlook Ltd, an independent research organization specializing in the cotton market, said yesterday. Prices have reached in excess of 42 cents per lb, FOT, for lots equivalent to Box 4 White. (Reuters)