Shares failed to hold on to early gains on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) yesterday, as investor response to Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis’s speech on economic policy was far from enthusiastic, resulting in thin trade. The ASE general index closed at 2,326.93 points, a drop of 1.78 points or 0.08 percent. Earlier in the session, it had reached a high of 2,341.17 points, a gain of 0.54 percent. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips gained 0.25 percent to close at 1,250.40 points, while mid- and small-caps dropped 0.08 percent and 1.09 percent respectively. Gains by banks and OTE Telecom prevented a further downward slide. Alpha Bank gained 1.31 percent to close at 20.16 euros, while National rose 0.89 percent to 18.20 euros. OTE gained 0.93 percent, closing at 10.84 euros. Other blue chips that gained yesterday included Coca-Cola HBC (0.96 percent) and Titan (1.10 percent). By contrast, Germanos shed 3.10 percent, Hellenic Petroleum 2.97 percent and Duty Free Shops 2.44 percent. Out of 349 traded shares, 77 gained, 197 declined and 75 ended unchanged. Turnover was 73.66 million euros, including 7.55 million in prearranged trades. The ASE’s total capitalization is 81.51 billion euros.