ECONOMY

Resurgent blue chips

The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) general index registered a second straight week of gains on Friday, closing 0.66 percent higher than a week earlier, at 2,902.95 points, mainly on resurgent blue chip strength. Turnover, including pre-agreed block trades, totaled 777.87 million euros, representing a daily average of 155.57 million, against 127.13 million euros the previous week. All FTSE indices showed gains, led by the blue chip FTSE/ASE 20, which added 0.82 percent. The respective small-cap and mid-cap indices ended 0.45 and 0.11 percent higher. The composite FTSE/ASE-140 index was also 0.45 percent up for the week. Eleven of the 18 sectoral indices ended with gains, led by textiles (7.20 percent) and construction (3.88 percent). Insurance was the chief loser (down 2.02 percent), followed by refineries (down 1.71 percent). Telecoms shed 1.34 percent, as investors seem to be waiting for the reporting of first-quarter results from mobile operator CosmOTE on Wednesday and its parent OTE a day later. Of 346 traded stocks, 125 advanced, 174 declined and 47 ended unchanged. Analysts noted that investors responded keenly to EFG Eurobank’s announcement of a 35 percent first-quarter profit growth on Thursday, sending its share 6 percent up in the last two sessions of the week. The positive sentiment also spread to banks National and Alpha, despite their postponement of the reporting of first-quarter results to the end of June. The general index stands 4.19 percent higher than at the beginning of the year.