No power to lift index high above 2,300 pts

Buying interest was exhausted mostly in a few blue chips at the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) yesterday, with mid- and small-caps remaining on the sidelines. The general index just managed to remain afloat, gaining 0.19 percent to close at 2,312.90 points. But declining shares outnumbered advancers 140 to 104, while 137 remained unchanged. Turnover remained bogged down at 62.25 million euros. Blue chips gained 0.25 percent, while mid- and small-caps declined 0.32 percent and 0.04 percent respectively. The blue chip winners included OTE Telecom and its mobile subsidiary CosmOTE, which gained 0.57 percent and 0.59 percent respectively, Hellenic Petroleum, up 1.49 percent, and Eurobank and the Public Power Corporation, which both gained slightly over 1 percent. Among sectoral indices, refineries led with gains of 1.12 percent, while textiles lost most, ending 1.84 percent lower. Banks ended 0.13 percent higher. Analysts said the market appears subdued, on the one hand, by a lack of weighty business news that might have rekindled buying interest and, on the other, by the fact that a relatively large number of listed firms have high debt loads which they are trying to deal with by issuing bond loans. Technical analysis shows most stocks at the 1,800-point level.

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