ECONOMY

Shares stage rebound as banks surge

The Athens bourse soared more than 9 percent yesterday, in line with surging global markets, after the European Union and International Monetary Fund agreed upon a near 1-trillion-dollar rescue package for the eurozone. The Athens bourse’s benchmark general index jumped 9.13 percent to 1,779.30 points, on the back of the biggest rise in bank stocks recorded in some 20 years. Banks leaped 14.42 percent, led by a 16.89 percent rise in National Bank to 12.11 euros. Eurobank gained 15.38 percent to 5.55 euros and Piraeus Bank moved ahead 14.62 percent to 5.41 euros. Data released by Hellenic Exchanges, the operator of the Athens bourse, showed yesterday that foreign investors marginally increased their holdings in Greek stocks in April, despite falling share prices stemming from the country’s debt crisis. Foreign portfolios at the end of April held 50.4 percent of total shares on the Athens bourse, up from 50.3 percent in March, rising for the fifth straight month. In December, foreign players held 48.5 percent of Greek stocks. The blue chip FTSE/ATHEX 20 index gained 881.24 percent yesterday to 881.24 points. Turnover reached 332 million euros versus 171 million in the previous session.