A new year-high as refiners shine again

Stocks gained for the fourth session in a row yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), countering the negative mood in other European markets, to close at a new year-high. The ASE general index closed at 3,333.44 points, a gain of 11.40 points or 0.70 percent. This is a level last reached about four-and-a-half years ago. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips gained 0.66 percent to close at 1,845.32 points, while mid- and small-caps gained 0.77 percent and 0.47 percent respectively. The session was once again dominated by the refiners, both of whom reached new year-highs. Hellenic Petroleum gained 5.43 percent to close at 12.82 euros and Motor Oil gained 3.22 percent, closing at 19.24 euros. Other blue chips with significant gains were metals group Viohalco (up 2.14 percent to 5.72 euros), cement company Titan (1.81 percent), National Bank (1.35 percent to 31.42 euros), Alpha Bank (1.13 percent to 23.36 euros) and EFG Eurobank (1.12 percent to 25.30 euros). By contrast, PPC, which announced lower first-half profits, fell 3.42 percent to close at 18.64 euros. Of 334 traded stocks, 178 gained, 93 declined and 63 ended unchanged. Turnover reached 262.62 million euros, including 84.10 million in prearranged trades.