Banks lead advance, bucking trend abroad

The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index yesterday added 19.49, or 0.4 percent, to reach 5,284.20 even as 24 stocks fell, 22 increased and 14 were unchanged. The gauge rose 0.2 percent this week. The FTSE/ATHEX 20 Index of the country’s largest companies increased 0.6 percent to 2,819.48. The Cypriot General Index rose 0.3 percent to 5,442.39. National Bank climbed 66 cents, or 1.4 percent, to -47.28. Greece’s biggest bank may submit bids to buy one of four state-owned banks being sold in Ukraine, newspaper Imerisia reported, without citing a source. Piraeus Bank, Greece’s fourth-biggest bank, gained 62 cents, or 2.3 percent, to reach -28.12. Vassilis Vlastarakis, an Athens-based analyst at Beta Securities, upgraded his recommendation for the bank’s stock from «equalweight» to «overweight» and increased the price estimate to -34.20. Marfin Popular Bank was up 1.10 percent and Intralot gained 1.02 percent. Titan Cement slipped for a fourth consecutive day, losing 49 cents, or 1.5 percent, to -32. NBG/P&K Securities cut its price forecast for Titan shares to -36.20 euros from -40.8. Viohalco shed 1.46 percent and OPAP 1.20 percent. Turnover totaled -395.95 million, of which -36 million was in block trades. (Bloomberg, Kathimerini)