ECONOMY

ASE closes above 3,400 points after 56 months

Stocks continued their gains yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) boosted by the positive mood in other European markets – and even though first-half results were not as positive as the market had expected – to close at yet another new year-high. The ASE general index closed at 3,403.62 points, a gain of 21.66 points or 0.64 percent. This closing level was last seen in December 2000. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips gained 0.46 percent to close at 1,884.98 points, while mid- and small-caps gained 1.14 percent and 0.29 percent respectively. Refiner Hellenic Petroleum surged 4.62 percent to close at 13.58 euros, a new year closing high. Among blue chips, significant gains were also made by Emporiki Bank (up 4.01 percent to 25.42 euros), Alpha Bank (2.72 percent to 24.18 euros), hotel and casino operator Hyatt (2.14 percent) and mobile telecommunications service provider CosmOTE (1.33 percent to 16.76 euros). By contrast, National Bank declined 1.14 percent to close at 32.92 euros. There was also interest in small banks, with Aspis and Egnatia rising 6.17 percent and 4.02 percent respectively. Of 331 traded stocks, 133 gained, 145 declined and 53 ended unchanged. Turnover reached 230.73 million euros, including 42.85 million in prearranged trades.