Investors will be hoping to start the year off on a positive note, after the Athens bourse ended the last few months of 2009 on a downward trend, falling some 25 percent from a year-high. The Athens bourse’s benchmark general index, which hit a year-high of 2,932 points in mid-October, ended 2009 at 2,196.16 points. The bourse gained 23 percent for the year but trailed gains on its European peers. The Eurofirst 300 index rose 25.7 percent in 2009 to 1,045.81 points. On the news front, the year finished off with entrepreneur Lavrentis Lavrentiadis buying a 31 percent stake in Proton Bank for 70.6 million euros from Piraeus Bank. The deal, announced on Wednesday, valued Proton shares at a premium of 83 percent above its closing price. The acquisition, along with a 24 percent drop in bank shares over the last three months, has boosted expectations of further takeover activity taking place in the sector in 2010.