ECONOMY

Blue chips hurt index but smaller stocks thrive

Shares lost ground yesterday, with blue chips retreating on a fresh surge in crude oil prices and as investors booked short-term gains after Friday’s gains. «The spike in oil prices and profit-taking weighed on blue chips today. The technical reaction also led investors to focus on underperforming small- and mid-cap stocks,» said trader Andreas Alexiou at Beta Securities. The general share index ended 0.88 percent down at 2,402.38 points, in the tailcoats of European markets, which slid lower on fears that companies will have to stump up more money to cover their fuel costs. Gaming group OPAP extended losses for the second straight session, shedding 2.80 percent to 15.30 euros as investors booked gains after a year-to-date rally of almost 40 percent. Banks also lost ground, with National Bank leading the retreat with a loss of 2.67 percent to 24.02 euros. The stock is still up 16 percent since the start of the year. Power utility PPC bucked the trend, rising 0.68 percent to 20.60 euros. Blue chips fell 1.54 percent but mid- and small-caps added 1.40 percent and 2.84 percent respectively. Turnover eased to 126.82 million euros, with 33 million shares changing hands. Advancers led decliners 251 to 74. (Reuters)