ECONOMY

Profit-taking leaves index virtually flat

The Athens bourse closed virtually flat yesterday, as some profit-taking kicked in after two weeks of hefty gains, with mid-caps feeling most of the pinch. The benchmark general share index ended 0.05 down at 2,481 points. Blue chips ended flat, while both mid-caps and small-caps underperformed the broader market. «Friday is likely to see some volatility but I think that after some short-term pressure today and tomorrow, there are good chances we’ll see a continued upward trend,» analyst Elias Lazaris of Artion Securities said. Banks retreated after recent outperformance, ending 0.13 percent lower on what traders said was a natural correction. Bellwether National Bank edged up 0.17 percent to 23.38 euros and EFG Eurobank ticked 0.71 percent higher at 16.92, while Alpha Bank fell 0.82 percent to 26.74 euros. General Bank was once again the best performer, adding 2.87 percent to 6.46 euros, still basking in the glow of the recent selection of France’s Societe Generale by General’s main shareholders as the preferred investor for a controlling stake in the bank. Societe Generale has said it plans to seek a private capital increase and buy out minority shareholders. Turnover rose to 298.30 million euros, with 46.8 million shares changing hands. Winners trailed losers 99 to 214, with 46 unchanged. (Reuters)