Rumors and banks keep investors’ interest perky

Greek stocks yesterday held their ground above the 4,000-point barrier for a second straight day, on news and rumors of business deals which spread interest throughout the market and offset the lack of a positive mood in foreign markets. The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) general index ended 0.15 percent higher at 4,008.19 points. The blue chip FTSE/ASE 20 index advanced 0.44 percent, the FTSE/ASE Mid-40 gained 0.55 percent and the FTSE/ASE Small-Cap 80 added 0.58 percent. Financial services led about half of sectoral indices higher with gains of 2.33 percent. Banks, which led in turnover, were 0.85 percent up. Bank of Cyprus outperformed among blue chips, climbing 3.10 percent. Alpha Bank closed 2.36 percent up at the day’s high, while Duty Free Shops gained 1.39 percent and the Public Power Corporation added 1.38 percent. In contrast, Cosmote closed at the day’s low, down 2.70 percent, despite a favorable report by Deutsche Bank. Hellenic Exchanges, the parent company of the ASE, was 5.8 percent higher after rumors that the ASE was the target of an acquisition by the Frankfurt bourse. The ASE denied the rumors and advised investors to be «particularly cautious toward rumors.» Turnover rose to a perky 376.9 million euros, of which 144.5 million was accounted for by three banks, National, Piraeus and Alpha.