Banks spur rebound, buck foreign trends

Banks kept the Greek bourse northbound yesterday, bucking trends elsewhere in Europe, on news that the government is preparing to sell further stakes in Postal Savings Bank (TT) and Attica Bank later this month. Analysts said the market is tending to stabilize, anticipating the government’s next privatization moves, and absorbing liquidity to participate in Marfin Investment Group’s 5.2-billion-euro share capital increase. The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index closed up 0.33 percent at 4,859.96 points, after treading in negative territory for most of the session. The FTSE/ATHEX 20 blue chip index gained 0.35 percent, the FTSE/ATHEX Mid-40 ended 1.08 percent higher and the FTSE/ATHEX 80 small-cap index advanced 0.49 percent. The FTSE/ATHEX international index added 0.46 percent. Marfin Popular Bank led blue chips, rising 3.64 percent to 9.10 euros, Intralot ended 2.43 percent higher, Bank of Cyprus advanced 1.44 percent, Alpha Bank added 1.37 percent and Cosmote gained 1.14 percent. TT advanced 1.16 percent and Attica Bank surged 5.76 percent. In contrast, OTE slumped 1.75 percent and OPAP was down 0.53 percent on rumors that its tender for technological upgrading was coming to naught. Turnover totaled -459.25 million, with OTE accounting for -124.36 million.

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