ECONOMY

MPB leads blue chips against trends abroad

Greek stocks headed north in brisk trade for the sixth consecutive session yesterday, bucking the trend on other European markets. One-sixth of turnover was accounted for by Marfin Popular Bank (MPB), as CEO Andreas Vgenopoulos of its parent company, Marfin Investment Group, said the bank would not stay idle in the face of M&A activity. The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index closed 0.65 percent higher at 4,954.13 points, the FTSE/ATHEX 20 blue chip index gained 0.60 percent, the FTSE/ATHEX Mid-40 was up 0.27 percent and the FTSE/ATHEX 80 small-cap index climbed 0.53 percent. The FTSE/ATHEX International index added 0.55 percent. The Hellenic Technodomiki construction firm led blue chips with gains of 3.29 percent, Eurobank climbed 2.02 percent, MPB added 1.93 percent, Coca-Cola HBC rose 1.90 percent, OTE was 1.71 percent higher and Viohalco advanced 1.69 percent. Alpha Bank, Motor Oil, National Bank, Bank of Cyprus and Public Power Corporation also headed north. By contrast, Postal Savings Bank slumped 1.25 percent. UBS said it began coverage of National Bank with a target price of -55, Alpha with -29, Piraeus Bank with -34 and ATEbank with -4.50. All four received a «buy» rating. Turnover totaled -612.94 million, of which -181.78 million was accounted for by block trades.