ECONOMY

Foreigners on buying spree for blue chips

A positive climate in European markets and a buoyant National Bank propelled the Greek stock market 3.10 percent higher yesterday. The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) general index gained 111.17 points, closing at 3,693.75. Stockbrokers said there was aggressive buying by foreign institutional investors, who are returning in force after the massive sales in May. A further positive development was the significant rise in turnover, which almost doubled to 515.59 million euros. The blue chip FTSE/ASE 20 index led the rebound with gains of 3.72 percent. The FTSE/ ASE Mid-40 was up 1.32 percent and the FTSE/ ASE Small-Cap 80 advanced 2.62 percent. Commerce was the only one of the 17 sectoral indices to fall slightly. All others headed north, led by media (up 4.49 percent), insurance (4.47 percent) and banks (4.27 percent). Among blue chips, National Bank outperformed by climbing 8.81 percent. OPAP surged 5.36 percent higher after confirming it would take over the running and risk management of its flagship sport betting game Stoichima by early 2007. Its subsidiary Cosmote rose 4.02 percent and Hellenic Petroleum 4.00 percent. Alpha Bank advanced 3.92 percent, Eurobank 2.75 percent and Coca-Cola HBC 2.64 percent. Duty Free Shops was the only blue chip to fall, by 0.86 percent.