Construction firms hit by liquidity rumors

Greek shares headed south after an encouraging opening yesterday, mainly hit by rumors of liquidity problems in a number of construction groups. The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) general price index shed 7.82 points, or 0.32 percent, to close at 2,445.16 points. Alfa Alfa group found itself at the epicenter of the rumors, which it dismissed in a letter to ASE. The bourse itself said in a statement that it had not received any official information of liquidity problems and advised caution to investors. All sectoral indices ended lower, led by construction (-2.33 percent) and holdings (-2.21 percent). Alfa Alfa Holdings lost 17.65 percent, Alfa Alfa Energy 17.20 percent and ALTE 14.42 percent. Banks and telecoms ended 0.18 percent and 1.06 percent lower respectively. Selective interest in a number of blue chips prevented the general index from sliding further; OPAP advanced 1.55 percent, Coca-Cola HBC 1.03 percent, National Bank 0.98 percent and the Public Power Corporation 0.95 percent. Blue chips fell 0.16 percent, mid-caps 1.11 percent and small-caps 1.89 percent. Turnover rose to 169 million euros, of which 7.10 million was accounted for by block trades. Decliners outnumbered gainers 246 to 69, with 39 remaining unchanged on 355 traded.