ECONOMY

New 5-year high set as small-caps outperform

Stocks gained yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) to close at a five-year high. National Bank and OTE led the way, but investors also showed interest in small-capitalization firms. The ASE general index closed at 3,555.91 points, a gain of 24.66 points or 0.70 percent. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips gained 0.77 percent to close at 1,972.64 points, while mid-caps and small-caps gained 0.66 and 2.12 percent respectively. National Bank gained 2.41 percent to close at 35.74 euros after Swiss Bank UBS placed the stock among its top 20 picks. OTE gained 2.05 percent to close at 17.98 euros, as investors continued to express confidence in the management despite less-than-stellar results. Other blue chips that posted significant gains included ATEBank (up 2.16 percent to 4.74 euros), refiner Motor Oil (2.15 percent to 19.96 euros), electricity company PPC (1.26 percent to 17.74 euros) and Emporiki Bank (0.99 percent to 24.44 euros). By contrast, losses were sustained by metals group Viohalco (down 1.93 percent to 6.10 euros) and electronics retailer Germanos (1.30 percent to 13.62 euros). Of the 325 traded shares, 180 gained, 81 declined and 64 ended unchanged. Turnover reached 248.23 million euros, including 25.44 million in prearranged trades.