ECONOMY

National, Piraeus banks help erase early losses

Stocks ended marginally higher yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), with investors expressing interest in the shares of National and Piraeus banks late in the session and helping to erase earlier losses. The ASE general index closed at 3,272.27 points, a gain of 0.49 points or 0.01 percent. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips gained 0.27 percent to close at 1,829.17 points, while mid-caps and small-caps declined 0.94 percent and 0.39 percent respectively. National Bank stole the show yesterday, gaining 2.32 percent to close at 30.90 euros, while Piraeus Bank gained 2.03 percent, closing at 16.06 euros. Other blue chips with significant gains were telecommunications equipment-maker Intracom (up 2.78 percent to 4.44 euros) and electronics retailer Germanos (1.02 percent to 13.84 euros). By contrast, electricity company PPC declined 1.75 percent to close at 20.26 euros, telecommunications firm OTE dived 1.55 percent to 16.54 euros, despite recent rumors that the government was pushing the stock ahead of today’s maturity of share-convertible certificates, and Emporiki Bank slipped 1.14 percent to 26.10 euros. Of 329 traded stocks, 82 gained, 185 declined and 62 ended unchanged. Turnover increased to 165.41 million euros, including 25 million in prearranged trade.