MIG, National Bank lead index 2 pct higher

The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) benchmark index yesterday added 84.79 points, or 2.1 percent, to 4,176.51, gaining for a third day, with a strong showing by banks. The gauge dropped 0.9 percent this month. The FTSE/ATHEX 20 index of the country’s biggest companies advanced 2.8 percent to 2,228.13 points. Marfin Investment Group (MIG) outperformed, soaring 10 percent, and National Bank, the country’s largest, surged 7.4 percent. Hellenic Petroleum advanced 3.6 percent, while Marfin Popular Bank gained 5.4 percent to 5.50 euros, advancing for a third day despite reporting a 39 percent drop in first-quarter net income to 104.4 million euros, more than analysts estimated. Motor Oil Hellas fell 6.6 percent to 15.60 euros, the biggest drop since September 2001. Yesterday was the last day shareholders were entitled to a total dividend of 1.20 euros a share from last year’s earnings. Aspis Bank declined 3.5 percent to 2.76 euros, falling to its lowest this week. The lender said it had a net loss in the first quarter of 2.2 million euros ($3.4 million) compared with a profit of 3.9 million euros. Metals group Viohalco slumped 6.2 percent and Hellenic Technodomiki dropped 2.9 percent. Turnover surged to a total of 748.8 million euros. (Bloomberg, Kathimerini)