Motor Oil surges on Merrill Lynch upgrade

In line with foreign markets, the Athens Exchange (ATHEX) benchmark index advanced for the first time in three days, adding 28.05, or 0.7 percent, to 4,257.94. The FTSE/ATHEX 20 Index of the country’s biggest companies added 0.7 percent to 2,255.24. Motor Oil Hellas had its biggest gain since August 2003, jumping 8 percent, to 16.50. Analysts at Merrill Lynch & Co raised their recommendation on the shares of Greece’s second-biggest refiner to «buy» from «neutral.» OTE telecom declined 1.3 percent, to 18.66 euros, the lowest in almost three weeks. Analysts at UBS AG downgraded Greece’s biggest telephone company to «neutral» from «buy.» Alapis rose for a fifth day, advancing 1.9 percent, to 2.11 euros. Santander Investment Services increased its stake in the pharmaceuticals producer to 6 percent, the company said in a bourse filing after the market closed on May 16. Forthnet declined to its lowest in a month, dropping 2.3 percent, to 5.08 euros. Greece’s second-biggest provider of Web services will borrow as much as 245 million euros from banks through a bond sale to finance an acquisition, the company said on May 16. Marfin Popular Bank added 3.1 percent, Alpha Bank 2.6 percent and Hellenic Technodomiki 1.9 percent. (Bloomberg, Kathimerini)