Heavyweight banks display confidence

A number of surging blue chips pushed the Greek stock market higher in thin trade yesterday, while a positive mood also prevailed on other European markets. The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index closed up 0.91 percent at 4,736.25 points. The FTSE/ATHEX 20 blue chip index gained 0.83 percent to close at 2.532.36 points, the FTSE/ATHEX Mid-40 rose 0.68 percent, and the FTSE/ATHEX 80 small-cap index ended 0.27 percent higher. Metals group Viohalco was the blue chip outperformer, climbing 4.83 percent. Coca-Cola HBC rose 4.64 percent and Folli-Follie ended up 4.44 percent. Eurobank closed 2.55 percent higher, Titan 1.89 percent and Piraeus Bank 1.15 percent. Bellwether National Bank gained 0.96 percent and OTE telecom rose 0.87 percent. In contrast, Postal Savings Bank and mobile operator Cosmote led the decliners, ending 1.44 percent and 1.22 percent lower respectively. OPAP, Public Power Corporation, Intralot, Hellenic Technodomiki and Motor Oil also headed south. Turnover fell to 290.8 million euros, including -18.4 million in prearranged block trades. Analysts said the fact that -60 million in turnover was accounted for by banks National, Eurobank and Piraeus suggests the targeting of year-high prices. If banks move higher still, the 2,600-point level for the FTSE/ATHEX 20 is considered feasible.

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