ECONOMY

Banks stay attractive at small caps’ expense

Greek stocks gained for the seventh consecutive day yesterday, as investors continued to show their appreciation for the good bank results announced so far and appeared confident that the remaining ones will be as encouraging. The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) general index edged up 0.18 percent to 4,245.14 points. The blue chip FTSE/ASE 20 index rose was up 0.51 percent, mid-caps gained 0.28 percent but small caps were 1.03 percent lower. National Bank, which will announce 2005 results on Tuesday, rose 2.26 percent to a new historic high of 43.50 euros, while Piraeus and Alpha banks, which posted results this week, added 2.28 percent and 1.97 percent. The banking share index was 1.49 percent. Other blue chips, in contrast, came under selling pressure. Mobile operator Cosmote lost 2.91 percent and its parent, OTE, 1.28 percent. The telecoms index shed 1.72 percent. Intracom declined 2.68 percent and Hellenic Petroleum 1.32 percent. Chemicals led sectoral indices with gains of 1.89 percent, while media and technology companies came under the strongest selling pressure, ending 1.95 percent and 1.87 percent lower. Turnover fell to 336.02 million euros, of which 24.7 million represented block trades.