Bullish mood deflates, index declines 0.33 pct

Despite opening in a bullish mood, shares, especially blue chips, came under strong pressure at the end of trading on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) yesterday, and the general index closed 0.33 percent down at 2,610.99 points. During the session, it reached a year-high of 2,644.41 points (up 0.94 percent). Profit-taking began aggressively about an hour before the closing in National Bank (NBG) shares and soon spread through most blue chips and a large number of small- and mid-caps that headed south. In terms of the Financial Times indices, blue chips dropped 0.44 percent, mid-caps edged down 0.04 percent and small-caps shed 0.45 percent. National Bank ended with gains of 0.52 percent after rising more than 3 percent. The banking index lost 0.79 percent. Gaming firm OPAP advanced 2.55 percent after reporting an 83.6 percent rise in nine-month pretax profit on Wednesday and upgrading reports by a number of foreign banks. Basic metals led all sectors with gains of 1.99 percent. Turnover skyrocketed to 786.4 million euros on account of the inclusion of 592 million from the government’s sale of 24.7 million shares of NBG on Wednesday; 143 shares rose and 142 declined.