Early gains erased as profit-taking prevails

Shares erased early gains to end with small losses yesterday as investors took cash off the table on recent gainers. National Bank traded lower, ahead of going ex-bonus on June 11. «Weak blue chips and lack of buying interest took the market lower. The correction could continue as investors lock in short-term profits, it’s logical and no cause for concern,» said analyst Christos Samothrakis at Market Securities. Other analysts said worries about a possible interest rate hike and volatile oil prices also kept investors on the sidelines. The general share index retreated 0.79 percent to 2,423.09 points, out of kilter with European markets, which climbed to four-week highs on hopes that global economic recovery was on track. National Bank ended a three-day winning streak which had brought it in sight of a year-high on Friday, giving up 0.79 percent to 25.04 euros. Oil refiner Hellenic Petroleum eased 2.79 percent to 6.28 euros, trimming gains of close to 4 percent on Friday, while telecoms operator OTE fell 2.03 percent to 10.60 euros. Blue chips lost 0.82 percent, mid-caps retreated 0.74 percent and small-caps slid 1.31 percent. Turnover fell to 98.55 million euros, with 16.6 million shares changing hands. Decliners led advancers 244 to 69. (Reuters)