Commercial jumps on stake sale news

News that France’s Credit Agricole is willing to up its stake in Commercial Bank spurred bank stocks higher yesterday, with Commercial outpacing peers to add nearly 4 percent. Commercial, which reported a sharp drop in first-quarter profit a day earlier, rose 3.94 percent to 25.84 euros after Greece’s finance minister said Credit Agricole had agreed to up its stake in the bank to about 9 percent. «The news that there’s someone willing to buy helped sentiment,» said analyst Haris Papadimitriou at Intersec. The Athens benchmark general index closed 1.55 percent higher with late-session buying helped by firmer European markets. The general index ended at 2,361.09 points. The bourse’s blue chip index rose 1.80 percent to 1,247.92 points, while banks rose 2.55 percent. Mid-caps gained 2 percent and small-caps 1.30 percent. Turnover was 136.85 million euros on volume of 27 million shares. Winners beat losers 244 to 70 while 46 shares were unchanged on 360 traded. (Reuters) Credit Agricole