Banks keep ASE afloat, construction index dives

The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) general index just managed to hold its own on Wednesday, gaining 0.01 percent to close at 2,463.25 points. Most shares headed south and the market was propped up mainly by the small gains of bank stocks. Alpha Bank, which reported nine-month results broadly in line with analysts’ expectations, rose 0.27 percent. A strong negative factor was the sizable losses of construction firm Aktor and its affiliate holding company Hellenic Technodomiki, which declined 7.27 percent and 3.56 percent respectively after the National Broadcasting Council on Tuesday refused to review its decision to block their access to a state contract, and to clear them for bidding for three more contracts on the grounds of entangled media interests. Aktor has the largest capitalization (390 million euros) among construction companies and the sectoral index fell 2.43 percent. Other heavyweight blue chips also shed previous days’ gains. OTE Telecom and its mobile arm CosmOTE shed 0.68 percent and 0.84 percent respectively. The blue chip FTSE/ASE 20 index gained 0.14 percent, but mid-caps lost 0.64 percent and small-caps 0.26 percent. Turnover rose to 142.02 million euros. Decliners outnumbered advancers 165 to 100, with 86 unchanged on 351 traded.