Banks propel ASE past the 4,800-point barrier

Greek stocks continued their ascent yesterday, overcoming yet another barrier, mainly on blue chip strength. The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) was 0.48 percent higher at 4,802.53 points – a new 81-month high. All capitalizations gained. The blue chip FTSE/ASE 20 index added 0.65 percent, mainly powered by banks, the FTSE/ASE Mid-40 gained 0.44 percent and the FTSE/ASE Small-Cap 80 was up 0.19 percent. Nine of the 17 sectoral indices headed north, led by insurance, which climbed 3.44 percent. Banks added 1.07 percent. By contrast, media declined the most, 1.22 percent, while technology ended unchanged. The Postal Savings Bank and Eurobank outperformed among blue chips, both advancing 3.35 percent on rumors of strong interest by the latter in the former’s impending partial privatization. ATEbank was 1.90 percent higher and Titan cement gained 1.33 percent. Alpha Bank, Bank of Cyprus, Hellenic Petroleum, OPAP and OTE were also higher, while Coca-Cola HBC and Piraeus Bank remained unchanged. By contrast, Folli-Follie led blue chip decliners with a loss of 3.54 percent, followed by Viohalco and Public Power Corporation. Turnover totaled 384.7 million euros, of which 102.2 million was accounted for by banks National, Piraeus and Eurobank.