ECONOMY

Bank stocks return to favor, except Emporiki

Stocks reversed gear and posted gains yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange, as investors started buying bank stocks again. The ASE general index closed at 3,039.15 points, a gain of 31.61 points or 1.05 percent. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips gained 1.22 percent to close at 1,708.58 points, while mid-caps and small-caps gained 0.59 percent and 0.89 percent, respectively. Banks were helped by a UBS report which was overall positive, despite reservations arising from the continued crisis over the fate of their employees’ pension funds. UBS recommended Alpha Bank and Eurobank («Buy 1») and National and Piraeus («Buy 2»). Significant gains were posted by the Public Power Corporation (up 3.50 percent to 20.12 euros), Hellenic Petroleum (3.33 percent to 8.70 euros), Eurobank (2.94 percent to 26.58 euros), National Bank (2.18 percent to 28.08 euros), Piraeus Bank (2.17 percent to 15.44 euros), Titan (1.78 percent to 26.24 euros) and CosmOTE (1.41 percent to 14.34 euros). By contrast, Emporiki declined again, this time dropping 2.36 percent to close at 23.12 euros. Of the 334 traded stocks, 179 gained, 80 declined and 75 ended unchanged. Turnover rose sharply to 175.74 million euros, including 19.35 million in prearranged trades.