Small banks outperform on talk of business deals

A positive climate elsewhere in Europe and rising expectations about business deals, particularly involving small banks, propeled Greek stocks north again yesterday. The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) added 1.47 percent to close at 3,620.98 points, with mid- and small-caps outperforming. The blue chip FTSE/ASE 20 index was up 0.84 percent, the FTSE/ASE Mid-40 climbed 3.97 percent and the FTSE/ASE Small-Cap 80 advanced 3.66 percent. Technology led sectoral indices, surging 9.00 percent, followed by financial services, which surged 5.64 percent. Only two, food & drink and commerce, headed south. Banks added 0.60 percent, as gains of more than 5 percent by four small banks, Aspis (7.51 percent), Attica (5.83 percent), Cyprus (5.74 percent) and Postal Savings (5.63 percent), were offset by heavyweights National and Alpha, sliding 0.81 percent and 0.51 percent lower respectively. Among other blue chips, Intracom outperformed with a surge of 11.47 percent, Folli Follie climbed 4.49 percent, OTE advanced 3.81 percent, Motor Oil added 3.01 percent, Viohalco added 2.81 percent, OPAP was 2.59 percent higher and Cosmote gained 2.21 percent. In contrast, Duty Free Shops tumbled 5.78 percent. Turnover fell to 256.83 million euros.

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