Banks buck trend, keep on climbing

Banks gained more ground yesterday, moving away from oversold levels, with the Athens bourse’s benchmark index ending slightly lower but above the key 1,800 point mark. «We consolidated today, somewhat affected by the downturn in European markets but profit-taking after recent gains was to a large extent absorbed,» said analyst Manos Hatzidakis at Magna Trust. Banks, which rebounded about 3 percent in the past two sessions, gained 0.66 percent. The benchmark general index eased 0.38 percent to 1,819.66 points. It ended the week 0.69 percent lower. «Banks have suffered big losses and the margins for a further fall are limited,» said Nikos Gallousis, head of derivatives at Kappa Securities. Blue chips on the FTSE/ASE-20 index eased 0.02 percent to 911.18 points with mid-caps off 0.51 percent. Small-caps fell 0.47 percent. Turnover was 73.82 million euros on volume of 16.3 million shares. Losers led gainers 151 to 132 with 73 shares unchanged on 356 traded. (Reuters)