Fourth-straight day of gains; small banks lead

Stocks posted gains yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) for the fourth-straight session, with investors focusing this time on smaller banks. The ASE general index closed at 3,288.64 points, a gain of 7.64 points or 0.23 percent. On a weekly basis it gained 2.07 percent, bringing total gains this year to 18.03 percent. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips gained 0.16 percent to close at 1,830.85 points, while mid- and small-caps gained 0.42 percent and 1.08 percent respectively. The announcement that Marfin Financial Group acquired a 10 percent stake in Egnatia Bank sparked interest in the smaller banks. Egnatia gained 19.74 percent, followed by Marfin (up 6.70 percent), Bank of Attica (4.53 percent), Aspis Bank (4.46 percent), and Bank of Cyprus (1.70 percent). Among other firms, refiner Motor Oil also performed strongly, rising 6.68 percent. Among blue chips, the biggest gainers were refiner Hellenic Petroleum (up 2.70 percent to 9.88 euros), construction group Hellenic Technodomiki (1.92 percent to 4.24 euros) and cement firm Titan (1.59 percent to 29.34 euros). Of 330 traded stocks, 149 gained, 106 declined and 75 ended unchanged. Turnover increased slightly to 202.21 million euros, including 31.4 million in prearranged trade.