Broadly based fall led by banks, construction

Shares closed lower, mainly under pressure from banking and construction stocks. The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) general index closed down 0.39 percent at 2,352.63 points. The FTSE/ASE-20 blue chip index closed 0.42 percent lower, mid-caps declined 0.81 percent and small-caps retreated 0.69 percent. The small decline belied the fact that most stocks came under heavy pressure, with 36 of them closing at a 2004 low. One exception was cement company Titan, which rose 0.90 percent to close at a year-high 20.20 euros. Banks edged 0.57 percent lower and construction stocks lost 1.45 percent. Among banks, National was the main loser, closing down 0.86 percent at 18.40 euros. This was seen as a correction after six consecutive rising sessions. EFG Eurobank finished 0.45 percent lower at 17.82 euros, while Alpha Bank bucked the trend, gaining 0.28 percent to 21.30 euros. OTE Telecom rose 0.20 percent to 10.18 euros, while its subsidiary CosmOTE advanced 1.54 percent to 13.20 euros. Power company PPC finished 1.13 percent down to 19.28 euros, while lottery operator OPAP lost 1.51 percent to 15.66 euros. Among 350 stocks traded, 215 declined, 72 rose and 65 remained unchanged. Total traded volume rose slightly, reaching 74.52 million euros.