Profit-taking spurs fall in bank stocks

Stocks declined slightly yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), with investors locking in gains in some of the bank stocks that boosted the market in Monday’s session. The ASE general index closed at 2,611.47 points, a drop of 7.52 points or 0.29 percent, after temporarily dipping below 2,600. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips dropped 0.35 percent to close at 1,439.33 points. Mid-caps and small-caps declined 0.71 percent and 0.93 percent respectively. Among major banks, only Emporiki bucked the trend – and a «sell» recommendation by Merrill Lynch – to gain 0.91 percent, closing at 22.28 euros. All others declined, with Piraeus taking the biggest dive (2.76 percent to 11.28 euros). Among other blue chips, OTE’s share remained unchanged at 12.60 euros, while its mobile communications subsidiary CosmOTE declined 0.47 percent to close at 13.94 euros. State betting company OPAP outperformed, gaining 2.02 percent to 18.22 euros. Construction company Aktor and hotel and casino management company Hyatt took a hit, dropping 4.35 percent and 2.76 percent, respectively. Out of 360 traded stocks, 79 gained, 213 declined and 68 ended unchanged. Turnover rose to 157.37 million euros, including 17.58 million in prearranged trades.