National Bank leads on nine-month earnings

Greece’s benchmark stock index advanced for a third consecutive day. National Bank rose the most in 17 months after nine-month profit beat some analysts’ estimates. The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) index added 1.6 percent, to 5.053.87 points as 145 stocks climbed, 105 fell and 51 were unchanged. The gauge increased 2.6 percent this week. The FTSE/ATHEX 20 index of the country’s largest companies increased 2.1 percent to 2,701.46. The Cypriot General Index rose 1.4 percent to 5,066.60. National gained 5.5 percent, to -45.90, the biggest one-day gain since June 30 last year. Profit in the nine months to September 30 surged 66 percent to -1.31 billion, the bank said on Thursday. The forecast for the share price was raised 5.8 percent to -55 by analysts at Deutsche Bank AG. Analysts at Proton Bank also increased their forecast for National’s share price to -54.5 from 53. Public Power Corporation added 3 percent, to -33.48 after the government said it will let the company increase prices as soon as tomorrow. Folli-Follie gained 2.9 percent and construction firm J&P Avax advanced 2 percent. Third-quarter net income for Greece’s second-biggest builder rose to -4.7 million from -1.4 million last year. Turnover totaled -854.3 million, with National Bank accounting for -141.7 million. (Bloomberg)