Banks, telecoms push index up nearly 1 pct

Stocks gained ground yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), as investors rushed to buy bank and telecoms stocks. In the coming sessions, the market will closely monitor the results of National and Alpha banks, plus global sentiment, to determine its future direction. The ASE general index closed at 3,059.38 points, a gain of 29.57 points or 0.98 percent. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips gained 1.22 percent to close at 1,726.30 points. Mid-caps also gained (0.27 percent), while small-caps declined 0.10 percent. Emporiki Bank, the hardest hit among bank stocks lately, jumped 5.73 percent to close at 24.72 euros, as investors appeared confident that a solution to its deficit-ridden employees’ auxiliary pension fund would soon be found. Other big banks also gained: Piraeus (up 2.11 percent to 15.52 euros), Alpha (2.05 percent to 23.88 euros), EFG Eurobank Ergasias (1.02 percent to 25.76 euros) and National Bank (0.77 percent to 28.68 euros). Several other blue chips ended with gains: These included Hellenic Technodomiki (up 3.94 percent to 4.22 euros), OTE (1.56 percent to 15.66 euros) and CosmOTE (1.52 percent to 14.70 euros). Of the 329 traded stocks, 145 gained, 125 declined and 69 ended unchanged. Turnover dropped to 164.32 million euros, including 17.5 million in prearranged trades.

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