ECONOMY

Index nudges higher in fourth day of gains

The benchmark Athens Exchange (ATHEX) index gained for a fourth day, rising 0.02 percent to 4,377.85 points. The FTSE/ATHEX 20 index of the country’s biggest companies fell 0.2 percent to 2,774.94. Alpha Bank added 12 cents, or 0.6 percent, to -20.80, gaining for the first time in three days. Greece’s third-biggest bank said after the close of trading that full-year profits rose more than half last year to -850 million. Metals group Viohalco advanced 2.9 percent, refiner Motor Oil climbed 2.3 percent and Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Co added 2 percent. By contrast, OTE telecom led decliners with a 2.2 percent drop, Piraeus Bank shed 2 percent, Marfin Popular Bank was 1.7 percent lower and Intralot gained 1.6 percent. Jumbo advanced 40 cents, or 2.1 percent, to -19.20, advancing for a second day. The Greek toy retailer said yesterday after the close of trading that net income rose 21 percent to -48.2 million in the six months that ended December 31. Turnover totaled -302.2 million. The Cypriot General Index lost 0.7 percent to 3,738.72 points. Cyprus Airways gained 6.7 percent, after posting a profit for 2007 of -1.2 million, having reduced its work force and having sold off unprofitable companies a year earlier. (Kathimerini, Bloomberg)