Shares on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) could not hold on to their early gains because of late profit-taking and ended only marginally higher yesterday. The ASE general index ended at 2,356.92 points, a rise of 3.67 points or 0.16 percent. It had risen as much as 0.81 percent during the session. Analysts said that most of the profit-taking took place in small-capitalization stocks, which had risen considerably over the previous three sessions. Despite that, buying interest continued to be strong. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips declined marginally (0.01 percent) to close at 1,256.54 points. Mid-caps and small-caps advanced 0.86 percent and 0.57 percent respectively. Banks also declined 0.01 percent. Emporiki and EFG Eurobank performed strongly, rising 1.70 percent and 0.56 percent respectively, but National dropped 0.54 percent and Alpha declined 0.49 percent, despite announcing a strong rise in half-yearly profit yesterday. Both OTE Telecom and mobile subsidiary CosmOTE came under pressure, falling 1.36 and 1.34 percent respectively. Among the 380 shares traded, 220 gained, 112 declined and 48 ended unchanged. Turnover rose again, to 142.60 million euros, of which 25.23 million concerned prearranged share block transactions.