Telecoms at forefront of march to new highs

Stocks gained yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), with investors expressing strong interest in blue chips. The index reached a new four-year high even though European markets were slightly lower. The ASE general index closed at the intra-day high of 3,314.52 points, a gain of 25.37 points or 0.77 percent. Earlier in the session, it had fallen as low as 3,264.90 points. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips gained 0.85 percent to close at 1,853.98 points, while mid- and small-caps gained 0.59 percent and 0.14 percent respectively. Once again, telecommunications stocks were the stars of the session, with both OTE and CosmOTE reaching new 52-week highs. OTE gained 2.48 percent to close at 17.34 euros and CosmOTE was up 1.35 percent to 16.46 euros. National Bank also notched a 52-week high, rising 1.23 percent to close at 31.32 euros. Other blue chips with significant gains were PPC (up 2.47 percent to 20.78 euros) and OPAP (1.05 percent to 26.84 euros). By contrast, Emporiki lost 1.40 percent to close at 25.32 euros, Titan slipped 0.99 percent to 27.94 euros and Coca-Cola HBC ended at 23.58 euros, down 0.76 percent. Of 335 traded stocks, 140 gained, 129 declined and 66 ended unchanged. Turnover rose to 215.17 million euros, including 32.5 million in prearranged trade.