Small caps near six-year high, banks rebound

Bucking the trend in other European markets, Greek stocks stayed on the winning side yesterday but failed to maintain hefty initial gains. Small caps again outperformed. The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index closed 0.49 percent higher at 4,767.09 points after surpassing 4,800 points during the session. The FTSE/ATHEX 20 blue chip index, aided by heavyweight banks, gained 0.50 percent to close at 2,526.13 points. The FTSE/ATHEX Mid-40 was up 0.62 percent at 6,113.13 points, and the FTSE/ATHEX 80 small-cap index ended 1.21 percent higher, just a breath away from the six-year high of 985 points. Eurobank led blue chips, outperforming both in gains (4.73 percent) and turnover (-75.5 million) a day after reporting a 30 percent jump in first-quarter profits. Alpha Bank also impressed in terms of turnover but was down 0.46 percent, with brokers taking note of foreign investment bank reports pointing to the bank as a possible buyout target. Hellenic Technodomiki rebounded by clocking up 3.51 percent, while Bank of Cyprus and Public Power Corporation advanced 2.25 percent and 2.24 percent respectively. In contrast, Intralot shed 2.47 percent, OTE 1.99 percent and Emporiki 1.26 percent. Utilities led sectoral indices, gaining 2.07 percent. Bank were up 0.86 percent. Turnover rose steeply to -469 million.