Banks drive index up after six-day decline

The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) benchmark index gained for the first time in seven days yesterday, adding 86.3 points, or 2.2 percent, to 4,090.09. The FTSE/ATHEX 20 index of the country’s biggest companies advanced 2.8 percent to 2,162 points, with a strong performance by banks. The following stocks were among the most active: National Bank rose the most in more than two months, climbing 6.2 percent to 33.90 euros. The country’s biggest lender reported a profit increase of 5 percent in the first quarter. Bank of Cyprus advanced the most in more than a month, gaining 42 cents, or 5.2 percent, to 8.54 euros. The bank said after the market closed that net income in the first quarter rose 9 percent to 116 million euros. Alpha Bank rose 2.7 percent to 21.12 euros, snapping a four-day decline. Public Power Corporation (PPC) fell 64 cents, or 2.6 percent, to 24.36 euros, dropping for a third day. Proton Bank cut the price estimate for the stock of Greece’s biggest electricity producer to 27.70 euros from 32 euros. PPC yesterday said profit fell 27 percent in the first quarter after record oil prices and a labor strike boosted the cost of fuel and energy imports. Piraeus Bank gained 3.7 percent, Eurobank advanced 3.5 percent and ATEbank ended 1.2 percent lower. Turnover totaled 331.3 million euros. (Bloomberg, Kathimerini)