Banks lead stocks higher

Greek stocks jumped 1.59 percent yesterday as buying in Alpha Bank rubbed off on the broader sector after the lender reported a lower-than-expected drop in first-half earnings. The Athens bourse’s benchmark general index ended at 2,545.67 points while major European bourses headed southward on concerns about the sustainability of any recovery in the global economy. The blue chip FTSE/ATHEX 20 index added 2.03 percent to 1,354.44 points. Banks advanced 3.83 percent. Alpha Bank added 8.60 percent to 12 euros after announcing after the market close on Tuesday profits that surprised investors. National Bank rose 3.10 percent to 23.60 euros. Turnover reached 300.3 million euros versus 174 million in the previous session.