ECONOMY

Heavyweight banks pull index still lower

Share prices receded for the third day in a row yesterday, with investors shedding blue chips, particularly banks, and apparently placing part of the proceeds in small-caps. The general index of the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) lost 1.05 percent, closing at 2,341.96 points, after a short-lived intra-session high of 2,383.76 points. National Bank attracted most of sellers’ fire, losing 3.08 percent to close at 23.26 euros. Alpha Bank ended 0.60 percent lower, Emporiki 1.18 percent down, with Agricultural Bank bucking the trend with a 2.31 percent rise to 6.20 euros. OTE Telecom, the biggest Greek company, ended flat at 10.00 euros, after a run of large losses this week which culminated in a 5.66 percent crash on Thursday. Other blue chips with sizable losses were OPAP (3.94 percent), Germanos (5.38 percent) and Hellenic Duty-Free Shops (4.55 percent). Titan Cement gained 3.25 percent to 37.54 euros after reporting a forecast-beating 336 percent rise in first-quarter net profit. Hellenic Petroleum advanced 1.82 percent despite reporting a 52.4 percent drop in first-quarter pretax earnings to 49.5 million euros – citing lower refining margins and a stronger euro. Advancers outnumbered decliners 154 to 124, with 79 unchanged. Turnover fell further to 125.97 million euros.