Profit-taking ends six-day run of gains

Stocks ended a six-session winning streak yesterday, with investors hurrying to lock in gains in resurgent Greek banks as European bourses turned lower. Banks, the steam engine behind the bourse’s gains of 7 percent in the past six sessions, fell back 1.8 percent, mirroring the loss on the Athens benchmark general index which closed at 1,749.95 points, retreating from Wednesday’s close of 1,781.95 points, its highest close so far this year. «This correction was expected and the most likely scenario for tomorrow is a further withdrawal… how Alpha shares react (today) when they trade ex-dividend will be a decisive sign,» said analyst Christos Skroumas at Merit Securities. Blue chips lost 1.83 percent to 875.09 points, while mid-caps also fell 1.83 percent and small-caps lost 2.44 percent. Turnover eased to 101.38 million euros, with 30.9 million shares changing hands. Losers beat winners 305 to 33, with 18 shares ending unchanged on 356 traded. (Reuters)

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