ECONOMY

Index at five-day low as oil prices set gloom

Shares shed more than 1 percent yesterday, with Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling (CCHBC) retreating on profit-taking despite posting a smaller first-quarter loss. «Athens has outperformed European bourses since the start of the year so it’s logical to see some short-term profit-taking, especially in blue chips when the market is weak,» said portfolio manager Costas Bouropoulos at Kyklos Securities. The benchmark general share index closed 1.43 percent down at 2,431.63 points, a five-day low, tracking weak sentiments across Europe on concerns over surging oil prices. CCHBC lost 2.05 percent to 20.08 euros, its lowest closing level since March 24, despite beating expectations with a smaller loss in the traditionally weak first quarter. The world’s third largest bottler of Coca-Cola products said losses narrowed to 12 million euros from 26.3 million a year earlier on sales growth of 11 percent to 885.1 million euros. Shares in Alpha Bank, which traded ex-bonus on Monday, fell 2.78 percent to 21.66 euros. The new bonus shares will be listed for trading on May 21. Blue chips ended 1.51 percent lower, mid-caps shed 1.58 percent while small-caps fell 1.40 percent. Turnover fell to 128.52 million euros, with 17.27 million shares changing hands. Decliners led advancers 257 to 54. (Reuters)