Good foreign reports on banks, OTE lift market

Stocks gained yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange, with banks and telecoms giant OTE leading the way. The ASE general index closed at 3,081.33 points, a gain of 36.69 points or 1.21 percent. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips gained 1.45 percent to close at 1,738.69 points, and mid-caps gained 1.05 percent. By contrast, small-caps declined 0.08 percent. Bank stocks were boosted by significant acquisitions from foreign institutionals following a Deutsche Bank analysis that deficits in employees’ auxiliary pension funds do not threaten the banks’ capital base. The same report recommended buying National and Alpha Bank shares. Four out of the five biggest banks posted significant gains: These were Emporiki (up 2.59 percent to 26.98 euros), Alpha Bank (2.43 percent to 24.48 euros), National (2.11 percent to 28.98 euros) and Piraeus (2.05 percent to 14.94 euros). EFG Eurobank again moved only marginally. OTE gained 1.65 percent to close at a 52-week-high at 16 euros. In a note published yesterday, Credit Suisse First Boston raised OTE’s share price target to 17 euros, from 15 previously. Of the 333 traded stocks, 149 gained, 102 declined and 82 ended unchanged. Turnover dropped moderately, reaching 168.78 million euros, including 13.65 million in prearranged trades.

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