Blue chip selling leads market slightly lower

Shares closed with marginal losses yesterday on the back of major portfolio restructuring across blue chips ahead of year-end, with banking stocks providing a bright spot for the index. «There is some foreign buying into banks, while funds are also upping bank stocks in their portfolios ahead of 2004,» said Thanos Ipirotis, analyst at Alpha Finance. The general share index edged down 0.23 percent to 2,205.52 points, shy off Friday’s four-month highs. Alpha Bank hit a year-high, closing 2 percent up at 22.46 euros, with traders saying the stock is seen as attractive at its current price level and bound to attract interest. EFG Eurobank advanced 0.41 percent to 14.80 euros on its first day in the FTSE Eurotop 300, while Commercial Bank ended 0.94 percent firmer at 19.28 euros. The laggard of the day among blue chips was Coca-Cola HBC, which closed 3.15 percent down, to 16 euros. Traders said the move was due to portfolio reshuffling by a couple of major shareholders, while there was no fundamental reason for the drop. Turnover fell to 127.02 million euros, with 24 million shares changing hands. Advancers trailed decliners 117 to 172, with 65 unchanged. (Reuters)