Late buying in banks helps index rise

Late session buying in banks helped lift the Athens bourse into positive territory yesterday as Alpha Bank outperformed on speculation its nine-month results will beat expectations. Alpha Bank, expected to release nine-month figures today, reversed early losses nearly 2 percent to end up 3.04 percent at 11.52 euros. Banks added 1.26 percent. A Reuters poll of analysts showed that Alpha Bank is expected to report a 60.8 percent year-on-year drop in nine-month net profit to 82.24 million euros, after weak capital market conditions weighed on earnings. The Athens benchmark general index rose 0.49 percent to 1,782.40 points after getting off to a weak start. Blue chips on the FTSE/ASE-20 index added 0.71 percent to 882.52 points. Mid-caps rose 0.30 percent and small-caps, 0.54 percent. Turnover was 56.65 million euros on 15.5 million shares traded. Winners beat losers 189 to 101 with 59 shares unchanged on 349 traded. (Reuters)