Shares closed lower, as buying interest faded over the course of the session with initial gains giving way to losses. This is not the first time that the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) has failed to follow rising European stocks. The bourse is suffering from low liquidity, a lack of buyers and a lack of corporate news. Signs of the impending bankruptcy of certain business groups are driving the few retail investors away, making it even more difficult to improve the market’s mood. The ASE general index closed 0.16 percent lower at 2,348.86 points. The FTSE/ASE-20 blue chip index finished 0.01 percent up, but mid-caps fell 0.47 percent and small-caps declined 0.58 percent. Banks ended just 0.08 percent up, with National Bank rising 0.43 percent to 18.48 euros, Alpha Bank declining 0.56 percent to 21.18 euros and EFG Eurobank falling 0.11 percent to 17.80 euros. OTE Telecom rose 1.38 percent to 10.32 euros and its subsidiary CosmOTE rose 0.15 percent to 13.22 euros. Energy monopoly PPC closed 1.14 percent down at 19.06 euros, while lottery operator OPAP retreated 0.77 percent to 15.54 euros. Of the 351 stocks traded, 184 declined, while 87 advanced and 80 remained unchanged. Total traded volume reached 82.67 million euros.