ECONOMY

Index drops below 1,700

The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) general index closed at 1,689.59 points on Friday, down 14.20 points or 0.83 percent from the previous week’s close. Three of the week’s five sessions ended with gains, but a steep decline on Friday ensured the index’s drop below 1,700 points for the first time since early 1998. Total trading volume was almost 365 million euros, an average of 73 million euros per session. Of the Financial Times indices, the FTSE/ASE-20 suffered the fewest losses (0.58 percent), while the mid-cap FTSE/ASE-40 was hit hardest, falling 1.57 percent. The FTSE/ASE-80 of small-caps and the new FTSE/ASE-140 lost 0.80 percent and 0.77 percent, respectively. Most sectoral indices ended with losses. Hardest hit were insurance stocks, which dropped 5.62 percent, basic metals (3.29 percent) and refineries (3.24 percent). The sectors that posted gains were retail commerce (4.92 percent), telecommunications (1.95 percent), IT equipment and solutions (1.90 percent) and construction (0.85 percent). Of the 363 individual stocks traded, 121 gained, 210 ended with losses and 32 remained unchanged. The biggest weekly gains were realized by Voyiatzoglou Systems (36.30 percent) and Hellenic Stock Exchanges (16.31 percent). The losers were led by Attica Bank, which fell 44.42 percent, and Emborikos Desmos’s preferred stock (38.81 percent). The most heavily traded stock was OTE Telecom, with a daily average volume of 12.86 million euros, followed by Public Power Corporation (8.19 million) and Vodafone Panafon (5.22 million).