Stocks gained yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), thanks to interest in a few blue chips, despite a downward trend in other European markets. Market analysts said that hedge funds have been buying heavily on the ASE since the start of the year. The ASE compound share index closed at 4,602.33 points, a gain of 42.19 points or 0.93 percent, the highest closing since May 2000. The FTSE/ASE 20 index of blue chips gained 1.02 percent to close at an all-time high of 2,508.96 points, while mid-caps inched up 0.03 percent and small-caps declined 1.13 percent. The FTSE/Athex International gained 0.84 percent, closing at 6,564.25 points. Nine out of 17 sectoral indices posted losses. The top gainers were foods and beverages (up 2.92 percent), telecommunications (2.21 percent) and travel and leisure (1.57 percent). The top losers were health (down 1.61 percent), oil and gas (1.12 percent) and technology (1.01 percent). Among blue chips, the top gainers were bottler Coca-Cola HBC (up 3.58 percent to -31.28), mobile telecoms company Cosmote (2.61 percent to -23.60), ATEbank (2.45 percent to -4.18), betting company OPAP (2.35 percent to -30.50), telecommunications firm OTE (2 percent to -24.40) and EFG Eurobank (1.59 percent to -29.44). Turnover reached -428.97 million, including -38.52 million in prearranged trades.