Battle near 2,400 pts

The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) general index only just managed to stay above the 2,400-point mark after shedding 1.74 percent during the week. Weekly turnover reached 542.63 million euros, an average per session of 108.53 million euros, against 136.63 million the week before. The picture was bleak among small-capitalization stocks, 70 of which reached year-low prices. The FTSE/ASE Small-Cap 80 shed 2.82 percent. Certain blue chips put up strong resistance to declining trends; the general index closed at 2,400.02 points on Friday after sizable placements on bank stocks. Alpha Bank reaped benefits from its announcement of a plan to absorb IT firm Delta Singular. Nevertheless, the bank sectoral index fell 2.03 percent over the week. The blue chip FTSE/ASE 20 index declined 1.79 percent; mid-caps ended 1.61 percent lower. Insurance and textile stocks led the slide in prices, their respective indices ending 5.88 percent and 5.07 percent lower. Basic metals and non-metallic minerals and cement were the only indices to stay in the black, with gains of 2.11 percent and 1.56 percent respectively. Decliners outnumbered advancers 280 to 70, while 22 stock prices remained unchanged. Nikos Galis led gainers, rising 12.3 percent, while Perseus was biggest loser, ending 25.27 percent lower. The most marketable securities were National Bank, OPAP and Alpha Bank. Analysts take the view that a battle will now be fought around 2,380 points, which will decide whether the index drops or rises by some 100 points.