ECONOMY

Stocks begin year with a bang, reach new highs

Stocks gained significantly yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), with investor interest across the board helping the market reach its highest levels in about six-and-a-half years. The ASE compound share index closed at 4,466.62 points, a gain of 72.49 points or 1.65 percent. The FTSE/ASE 20 index of blue chips gained 1.88 percent to close at 2,421.75 points, while mid-caps and small-caps gained 0.73 percent and 1.46 percent respectively. The FTSE/Athex International gained 1.70 percent, closing at 6,373.10 points. Fourteen out of 17 sectoral indices posted gains. The exceptions were commerce (down 0.35 percent), insurance (0.18 percent) and personal and household goods (0.15 percent). The top gainers were health (up 3.77 percent), technology (2.54 percent) and telecommunications (2.52 percent). Among blue chips, the top gainers were ATEbank (up 6.15 percent to -4.14), games of chance software maker Intralot (4.38 percent to -27.66), metals group Viohalco (3.81 percent to -9.80), National Bank (2.92 percent to -35.92), telecoms company OTE (2.81 percent to -23.40), jewelry and accessories maker and retailer Folli-Follie (2.68 percent to -30.70) and Bank of Cyprus (2.12 percent to -10.58). Turnover reached -258.15 million, including -39.07 million in prearranged trades.