Index slides as blue chips feel the heat

Heavyweight banks and small-caps yesterday offered strong support to the general index of the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), which shed 6.74 points, or 0.30 percent, to close at 2,233.64 points, as several blue chips came under selling pressure. Analysts said the market was in a phase of digesting recent new highs, consolidating at the 2,230-2,360 point level. National Bank gained 1.16 percent to 19.22 euros, Alpha Bank was up 1.17 percent to 18.96 euros and Eurobank rose 0.54 percent to 14.88 euros. Telecoms declined 1.33 percent and industrial stocks receded 1.04 percent. Construction firms outperformed, ending 2.77 percent higher. Blue chips shed 0.33 percent to 1,117.81 points, mid-caps gained 0.20 percent to 247.75 points and small-caps advanced 1.25 percent to 718.52 points. Turnover fell to 180 million euros. The most marketable securities were Alpha Bank with 14.08 million euros and OPAP with 13.41 million euros. Decliners led advancers 173 to 137, with 55 remaining unchanged on 365 traded.