Stocks advance 5.6 pct in week

Greek stocks ended with gains of 0.71 percent yesterday as positive news from the US on the job front helped encourage late-session buying. The Athens benchmark general index ended at 2,383.62 points, adding 5.59 percent for the week. The blue chip FTSE/ATHEX 20 index firmed 1.01 percent to end at 1,248.88 points. Banks rose 1.32 percent. Piraeus Bank firmed 0.89 percent to 10.20 euros. Earlier, UBS reduced its rating on the share to «neutral» from «buy» on concern that the country’s attempts to rein in a ballooning deficit will mean higher taxes and lower growth. UBS also cut its share price forecast on Piraeus Bank to 11 euros from 16 euros. European stock markets sprinted ahead yesterday after significantly better-than-expected US employment data revived hopes of a US recovery accompanied by a decline in joblessness. Turnover in Athens reached 258 million euros.