Banks set a rare day of bourse gains

Banks kept the broader market in positive terrain yesterday on hopes that recent savage discounting of gloomy nine-month results may have been overdone, rejuvenating interest in the battered sector. Soccer pool and lottery group OPAP bucked the trend, falling 6.39 percent after an earnings downgrade from Schroder Salomon Smith Barney (SSSB) sparked selling in the stock. The general index rose 0.16 percent to 1,785.28 points. Banks provided a rare day of gains, with that subindex of the bourse up 1.18 percent. Blue chips on the ASE/FTSE-20 added 0.75 percent to 889.13 points. Telecoms fell 0.5 percent as index heavyweight OTE Telecom shed 1.05 percent to 11.26 euros. Mid-caps rose 1.14 percent with small-caps easing 0.94 percent. Turnover was 80.36 million euros, versus 56.65 million euros a day earlier, on 19.8 million shares traded. Winners led losers 212 to 97, with 45 shares unchanged on 354 traded. (Reuters)

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