Merrill Lynch boosts banks

Stocks posted a further rise in yesterday’s session on the Athens bourse, taking the main index to heights unseen for the last 11 months. The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index grew to 2,611.52 points yesterday, rising by 1.81 percent from Tuesday’s close. The blue chip FTSE/ATHEX 20 index jumped 2.22 percent to end at 1,380.60 points. Reports by Merrill Lynch yesterday that it had upgraded EFG Eurobank from «underperform» to «buy» and Alpha Bank from «underperform» to «neutral» helped the lenders’ stocks to rise 4.09 percent and 3.59 percent respectively. They were outperformed by National Bank, though, which increased 5.08 percent. Marfin Investment Group (down 1.74 percent) and bottler Coca-Cola HBC (1.65 percent) had the biggest losses. Turnover reached 343.2 million euros, up from Tuesday’s 226 million euros.