ECONOMY

Buoyant blue chips send index to 5-month high

Greek stocks yesterday continued their ascent to a near five-month high, breaking the 4,000-point barrier, with all blue chips but one ending in positive territory. The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) general index closed 1.91 percent higher at 4,012.62 points. The blue chip FTSE/ASE 20 was up 1.74 percent, the FTSE/ASE Mid-40 advanced 2.04 percent and the FTSE/ASE Small-Cap 80 gained 1.49 percent. Viohalco outperformed other blue chips, surging 5.77 percent, buoyed by news of the signing of a $161 million deal by its subsidiary Corinth Pipe Works with US gas distributor Duke Energy. Hellenic Petroleum added 2.78 percent, Motor Oil rose 2.62 percent, OPAP was 2.61 percent higher, OTE ended up 2.60 percent and Coca-Cola HBC 2.27 advanced percent. Germanos was the only blue chip that stayed unchanged. All sectoral indices except insurance and commerce, which declined marginally, headed north, led by raw materials and industrial products & services, which gained 4.48 percent and 3.89 percent respectively. Turnover surged to 384.16 million euros. Analysts were cautiously optimistic that if the positive mood in foreign markets remains and the general index retains the 4,000-point level, interest will spread further to mid-caps and, particularly, small-caps.