Stocks end higher; CCHBC outperforms

Coca-Cola HBC, the world’s second largest bottler of Coca-Cola products, outperformed yesterday as investors opted for defensive stocks amid political wobbles on the domestic front. CCHBC gained 2.88 percent to 17.12 euros with traders saying foreign buying was evident. The Athens bourse’s benchmark general index ended with gains of 0.43 percent to 2,305.85 points. Analysts said positive figures on the macroeconomic front were overshadowed by news that Prime Minister Costas Simitis had sacked his health minister. The bourse’s FTSE/ASE-20 blue chip index gained 0.62 percent to 1,218.67 points. Banks rose 1.04 percent with the National Bank firming 1.18 percent to 22.38 euros. Mid-caps advanced 0.35 percent and small-caps lost 0.12 percent. Turnover was 66.45 million euros on volume of 12.7 million shares. Winners beat losers 171 to 116 while 65 shares were unchanged on 352 traded. (Reuters)