National Bank and gambling monopoly OPAP helped the local bourse’s main index to offset the significant losses it had registered at the start of yesterday’s session, when turbulence in European stock markets had sent it 4.20 percent lower. Eventually the Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index closed at 1,636.48 points, gaining 0.44 percent from Tuesday’s close at 1,628.24 points. The blue chip FTSE/ATHEX 20 index grew by 0.87 percent to end at 794.27 points. Initial sales were spurred by Merrill Lynch’s statement that it «fears» the country’s fiscal prospects, which made it trim target prices for Greek bank stocks. In the end a total of 111 stocks went down and 68 moved up, but the general index was significantly affected by the advances of National Bank (up 3.50 percent) and OPAP (up 2.40 percent). Other gainers on the day among blue chips were Viohalco (3.75 percent), Titan Cement (3.47 percent), Mytilineos (3.14 percent) and Bank of Cyprus (2.38 percent). Alpha Bank suffered minimal losses (down 0.20 percent). There was also a 10 percent rise yesterday for the stocks of Livanis, Alsinco and Girakian Profil. Turnover amounted to 154.2 million euros, up from Tuesday’s 113 million.