ECONOMY

OTE, banks lead plunge

The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) general index receded 5.07 percent last week, closing at 2,341.96 points on Friday after being weighed down by a selling run on blue chips, mainly OTE Telecom, Greece’s biggest company, and banks. Weekly turnover fell about 10 percent from the previous week to 682.30 million euros, representing an average per session of 136.46 million. The selling run was especially marked in the last 15 minutes of trading on Friday. Market players are referring to a weak psychology and strong volatility, perhaps partly related to the maturation of May derivatives contracts. If a rebound does not materialize this week, the index is considered likely to fall even below 2,300 points. The blue chip FTSE/ASE-20 index lost 6.33 percent, while mid- and small-caps shed 2.84 percent and 1.20 percent, respectively. OTE and National and Alpha banks all lost around 10 percent. The blue chips that bucked the trend included Titan Cement, Agricultural Bank and Hellenic Petroleum. Banks led sectoral indices lower, shedding 8.11 percent. IT firms and retailers followed with losses of 5.45 percent and 5.44 percent, respectively. Telecoms lost 4.61 percent. The only two sectoral indices that stayed afloat were non-metallic minerals and real estate, with gains of 1.47 percent and 0.94 percent respectively. Decliners outnumbered advancers 260 to 74, while 35 remained unchanged. Space Hellas led advancers, ending 22.22 percent higher, while Leventeris was the worst hit, with losses of 18.75 percent. The most marketable stocks were National Bank, OTE Telecom, OPAP and Alpha Bank.