ASE highest since 2001

The Athens Stock Exchange general index reached a new intra-session high of 3,336.15 points on Friday, a level last realized in April 2001. It ended the week at 3,326.64 points, 1.49 percent higher than a week earlier, after two initial sluggish sessions and a rebound in the last two. (Monday was a religious holiday and the bourse was closed.) Weekly turnover, including pre-arranged block trades, totaled 644.35 million euros, a daily average of 161.09 million in the four-session week against 183.55 million in the previous week. Mid-caps outperformed, with the FTSE/ASE-40 index gaining 2.20 percent in the week. The blue-chip FTSE/ASE-20 index ended 1.03 percent higher, while the FTSE/ASE small-cap 80 index added 0.33 percent. Most sectoral indices gained ground, with telecoms shooting 5.05 percent higher. OTE telecom was the focus of buying interest after a spate of positive domestic and foreign reports on the restructuring plans of the company and its cell phone subsidiary, CosmOTE. Industrial minerals surged 4.47 percent and publishing & printing 3.63 percent. By contrast, heavyweight banks shed 0.84 percent and real estate ended 1.00 percent lower. ATE Bank and telecoms equipment maker Intracom showed a trend toward correction after recent hefty gains, although they still ended the week 12.44 and 14.78 percent higher, respectively. Some analysts note that the attitude of foreign investors has been the dominant factor in the recent bullish market and that some profit-taking correction cannot be ruled out.

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