Banks pull index up for third straight day

Stocks on the Greek bourse continued their rise for the third straight session, with banks being at the focus of investors’ interest after an increase of EFG Eurobank’s stake in Postal Savings Bank, now renamed Hellenic Postbank, to 5.7 percent. The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index closed at 3,973.69 points yesterday from 3,927.30 points on Thursday, a rise of 1.18 percent. The blue chip FTSE/ATHEX 20 index grew by 1.96 percent, reaching 2,028.68 points. The mid-cap FTSE/ATHEX 40 index increased by 0.74 percent, while the small-cap FTSE/ATHEX 80 index posted a rise of 0.33 percent. The FTSE/ATHEX International was up 1.75 percent to 5,503.93 points. The biggest gainers yesterday among blue chips were the stocks of Postal Savings Bank (up 10.29 percent), Piraeus Bank (6.01 percent), Marfin Popular Bank (5.29 percent) and Alpha Bank (3.70 percent). On the other hand, Mytilineos lost a considerable 9.42 percent on news the company expects profits to fall during 2008. Sectoral indices had a mixed picture, with financial services rising by 3.96 percent and raw materials losing 4.23 percent. Turnover amounted to -411.01 million, of which -89.8 million concerned block trades. The Cypriot General Market Index gained 0.50 percent reaching 2,953.19 points.

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