Resurgent banks send index past 2,900 points

The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) continued its rebound yesterday, propelled past the 2,900-point barrier after 16 sessions by strong interest in heavyweight banks. The general index closed 1.22 percent higher at 2,902.95 points. The blue chip FTSE/ASE-20 index gained 1.34 percent to close at 1,616.77 points, mid-caps ended 0.85 percent higher, and small-caps added 0.83 percent. EFG Eurobank surged 3.25 percent on the back of 32.5 percent first-quarter profit growth announced on Thursday and with sizeable orders from abroad. Emporiki also climbed 3.54 percent, Piraeus ended 2.58 percent higher and National gained 1.31 percent. Gaming firm OPAP continued its advance with 1.73 percent, Hellenic Technodomiki added 2.55 percent and Titan Cement 2.06 percent. Only four of the 18 sectoral indices ended lower, with construction outperforming among winners with gains of 3.03 percent. Investment also did well at 2.08 percent, while IT equipment solutions fell the most, 1.26 percent. Advancers outnumbered decliners 161 to 87, while 82 share prices remained unchanged on 330 traded. Turnover reached 173.49 million euros, of which 81.4 million was accounted for by the four most marketable securities – banks Alpha, Eurobank, National and Piraeus.