ECONOMY

Heavyweight banks surge on Fed plan news

Propelled by heavyweight banks, the benchmark Athens Exchange (ATHEX) index gained for a second day, advancing 58.78 points, or 1.5 percent, to 4,045.22. The FTSE/ATHEX 20 index of the country’s biggest companies rallied 1.8 percent to 2,091.55 points. The following stocks were among the most active in trading. OTE, Greece’s biggest phone company, climbed 0.8 percent to 19.40 euros, a second day of gains. The Axiaplus website reported yesterday that Deutsche Telekom AG may buy part or all of Marfin Investment Group’s (MIG) near-20 percent stake in Hellenic Telecom. Andreas Leigers, a spokesman for Deutsche Telekom, wouldn’t comment on the report. MIG gained 1.4 percent to -4.20. The buyout fund said it hasn’t yet changed its stance and still considers the stake «strategic» even though it has received offers to sell it. Bank shares were among the best performers in Europe today on speculation the Federal Reserve’s plan to inject $200 billion into the financial system will help ease credit market turmoil. Eurobank surged 5 percent and National Bank climbed 3.4 percent, rising for a third day. Bank of Cyprus and Piraeus Bank advanced 3.3 percent and Postal Savings was 3.1 percent higher. Turnover topped -343.7 million. (Bloomberg, Kathimerini)