ECONOMY

Banks drive index once again over 4,600 points

Rapid developments in the banking sector largely set a positive tune in the Athens stock market yesterday, although the banks involved, Piraeus, Marfin Popular, Bank of Cyprus and Egnatia were temporarily suspended from trading until the dust settles. The Athens Stock Exchange general index rose 1.16 percent to 4,615 points, with gains spread more or less evenly among capitalization categories. The blue chip FTSE/Athex 20 index added 1.32 percent, the FTSE/Athex Mid-40 was up 1.10 percent and the FTSE/Athex Small Cap 80 gained 1.29 percent. Among blue chips ATEbank surged 4.29 percent, the Postal Savings Bank jumped 3.09 percent to a new high of 19.18 euros, Alpha Bank advanced 2.85 percent, while Eurobank and National added 1.89 percent and 1.55 percent, respectively. OTE telecoms also perked up, adding 1.94 percent. Viohalco was up more than 2 percent, while Hellenic Petroleum, Folli-Follie, OPAP, Motor Oil, Cosmote and Intralot also made gains. Public Power Corporation was unchanged, while Coca-Cola HBC and Titan lost less than 1 percent. Food & beverages was the only sectoral index which headed south. Raw materials outperformed with gains of 2.44 percent, followed by health with 2.30 percent. Banks were up 1.54 percent. Turnover totaled 550.64 million euros.