ECONOMY

Upbeat banks lead blue chip surge for 4,000 pts

The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) benchmark index climbed for a fourth day, adding 114.90 points, or 2.9 percent, to 4,080.65 and bringing this week’s gain to 1.9 percent. The FTSE/ATHEX 20 index of the country’s biggest companies increased 4 percent to 2,134.90 points. Bank of Cyprus jumped 10 percent to -8.62, the steepest gain in almost two weeks. Athanasios Orphanides, the country’s central bank governor, said yesterday the economic outlook for the Mediterranean nation for this year was robust. Marfin Popular Bank Public Co Ltd, Cyprus’s second-largest lender, rallied for a second day, adding 6.8 percent to -5.34. Banks were the best performers in Europe yesterday after Citigroup Inc of the US reported first-quarter revenue that beat analysts’ estimates and posted a $5.11 billion loss, less than the most pessimistic projections. National Bank climbed 5.7 percent to -33.82, the steepest advance in almost two weeks. Public Power Corporation advanced 2.2 percent to -27.60, rising for a second day, after the company said it plans to build an anthracite-powered power plant in Albania as a minority partner of German utility RWE AG. Turnover topped -341.7 million.