ECONOMY

Stocks melting down to new year-lows

Jitters, spread by rising oil prices throughout the global investment community, continued to take their toll on stock prices on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) last week. The general index ended at a new year-low of 2,227.33 points on Friday, 1.24 percent lower than a week earlier. Turnover fell to 368.45 million euros, an average of 73.96 million per session, against 86.8 million the week before. The banking sectoral index’s leading losses of 2.38 percent on Friday is seen as a sign that the foreign institutionals are accelerating shedding their blue chip holdings. It appears that part of the proceeds of liquidations have been directed toward other blue chips that have already undergone correction to a degree, such as OTE Telecom, Public Power Corporation (PPC) and Titan cement. However, caution prevailed in the overall negative climate. Characteristically, the buying interest that briefly emerged for Hellenic Petroleum due to the premium offered at 7.65 euros per share by the Latsis Group for an 8.2 percent stake in the corporation, fizzled out as soon as the price surpassed the 7-euro mark. On Friday, it shed 1.49 percent to close at 6.60 euros. Intracom and its gaming software subsidiary Intralot reached new year-lows. The blue chip FTSE/ASE-20 index declined 1.27 percent, but it was mid-caps that sustained the strongest pressure, shedding 3.06 percent. Small-caps slid 2.12 percent. All sectoral indices headed south, except telecommunications, which ended 1.7 percent higher. The leading sectoral decliners were construction (-7.3 percent), insurance (-6.06 percent) and non-metallic minerals & cement (-3.06). Of the 363 stock traded, 261 ended lower, 67 advanced and 35 remained unchanged. The gainers were led by Tria Alfa’s ordinary stock, Multirama and Tzirakian Profil. The biggest decliners were Empedos, Terna and Kepenos Mills. The most marketable securities were Lannet, OTE Telecom, CosmOTE and Sex Form.