Banks again drag index downward

Two days of weakness wiped a week’s gains off the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday, with investors continuing to take profits from a heady bank rally and Alpha Bank slumping after it traded ex-dividend. Alpha lost 6.6 percent while the Athens benchmark general index fell 2.13 percent to 1,712.71 points, eight points lower than its close of 1,720.75 points last Friday. Banks fell 4.18 percent. «It appears at these levels investors are feeling comfortable with locking in gains, particularly in banks which have outperformed the general index recently. «Today, it looked like a bit of rationalization after a very quick rise,» said analyst Michael Kavantzas at Devletoglou Securities. Blue chips lost 2.86 percent to 850.03 points. Mid-caps fell 1.64 percent and small-caps lost 0.47 percent. Turnover rose to 110.31 million euros, with 29.2 million shares changing hands. Losers beat winners 209 to 86 with 57 ending unchanged on 352 traded. (Reuters)

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