Construction woes hurt small-caps; banks resist

Shares closed lower yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), with selling pressure on transport stocks spreading to the majority of medium- and small-capitalization stocks. The ASE general index closed at 2,409.51 points, a decline of 12.66 points or 0.52 percent. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips declined 0.51 percent to close at 1,322.67 points, while mid- and small-caps dropped 0.61 percent and 1.08 percent respectively. Banks showed signs of resistance to the declining trend, with National and Emporiki improving marginally to set new year-highs at 21.02 and 19.56 euros respectively. By contrast, Agricultural Bank, which had risen significantly last week, dropped 9.76 percent yesterday. Construction firms Hellenic Technodomiki and Actor continued their precipitous drop, falling 9.22 percent and 8.28 percent respectively. Other blue chips that felt the selling pressure and subsequently dropped were Titan (down 1.90 percent), CosmOTE (1.42 percent), Public Power Corporation (1.21 percent) and OTE (0.73 percent). The few gainers included Hellenic Petroleum (up 1.15 percent) and Folli-Follie (1.18 percent). Out of the 352 traded stocks, 88 gained, 194 declined and 70 ended unchanged. Turnover rose to 169.51 million euros, including 84.61 million in prearranged trades.