ECONOMY

Banks heavily hit, but small-caps outperform

Widespread selling of bank shares outweighed more lively trade in small-caps yesterday. The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) general index ended the session at 2,326.07 points, a loss of 9.67 points or 0.41 percent. Blue chips fell 0.81 percent, while mid-caps dropped 0.23 percent and small-caps rose 1.49 percent. The big banks came under selling pressure today. National Bank dropped 2.26 percent to 17.30 euros, Alpha Bank lost 2.14 percent to close at 20.10 euros and Piraeus Bank ended at 9.34 euros, a loss of 1.27 percent. Emporiki and EFG Eurobank suffered less, dropping 0.62 percent and 0.34 percent, respectively. By contrast, most of the smaller banks chalked up significant gains. Telecoms stocks also suffered yesterday: mobile communications firm CosmOTE dropped 0.93 percent, to 12.82 euros, and OTE lost 0.76 percent, closing at 10.42 euros. Investor interest was concentrated on construction companies, following the changes in awarding public projects announced yesterday by Environment and Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias. Retail commerce was also lively, after the takeover of Kotsovolos by UK retailer Dixon’s. Of the 353 shares traded, 196 gained, 92 declined and 65 remained unchanged. Turnover rose to 108.07 million euros.