Stocks advance, led by National Bank, OTE

Greeks stocks advanced on Thursday, led by blue chips, and banks in particular. The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) benchmark index added 0.90 percent, to 5,056.64 points, even as 31 of its 60 constituent stocks declined, 23 rose and six were unchanged. The measure has increased 15.1 percent this year. The FTSE/ATHEX 20 Index of the country’s largest companies gained 1.5 percent to 2,696.51. The mid-cap index fell 0.35 percent while the small-cap measure was up 0.16 percent. National Bank rose 2.6 percent. Lending to Greek households and businesses rose by an annual 18.3 percent in October, its highest level since September 2006, the Bank of Greece said yesterday. OTE telecom advanced 3.49 percent. The company said it completed the sale of its Infote business directory unit for -300 million. Alpha Bank, the country’s third-biggest lender, gained 1.49 percent. The company raised -259 million in a share sale to help fund its expansion in Southeastern Europe. Marfin Investment Group surged 4.66 percent and Marfin Popular Bank climbed 3.56 percent. Public Power Corporation fell 2.6 percent. The company postponed discussion of a plan to cooperate with RWE AG, a German utility, to January. Turnover totaled -575.92 million, of which almost half was accounted by Alpha Bank. (Kathimerini, Bloomberg)