ECONOMY

Selling pressure pushes index to new year-low

In the last session before the opening ceremony of the Athens Olympics, the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) appeared distinctly unimpressed with the slogan «faster, higher, stronger,» finishing at its lowest level this year. The reason was the continuing aggressive sales tactics of foreign institutional investors, which affected mainly blue chips. The ASE general index closed at 2,255.34 points, a loss of 19.14 points or 0.84 percent. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips dropped 1 percent to close at 1,189.99 points, while mid- and small-caps declined 0.57 percent and 0.69 percent respectively. OTE Telecom’s shares also set a new year-low by dropping 0.84 percent, to 9.44 euros. So did Public Power Corporation, down 1.51 percent to 18.24 euros. All five major banks declined from 1.91 percent (Eurobank), to 0.82 percent (Emporiki), as did state lottery and pools firm OPAP (1.52 percent) and Hellenic Petroleum (1.46 percent). The only major blue chip going against the grain was Coca-Cola HBC, which gained 2.67 percent to close at 19.22 euros. Of the 351 stocks traded, 97 gained, 178 declined and 76 ended unchanged. Turnover rose slightly, to 104.52 million euros, including 15.86 million in prearranged trades. The ASE will be closed today.