Market downturn over bank talks deadlock

Stocks failed to hold on to early gains yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) as news came out that the meeting between bankers and unionists on the financial plight of the banks’ pension funds failed to produce any results. Investors started selling bank stocks and soon the whole market was caught in the downturn, with medium- and small-capitalization stocks more heavily affected. The ASE general index closed at 2,682 points, a drop of 17.46 points or 0.65 percent. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips declined 0.50 percent, while mid- and small-caps declined 1.48 percent and 1.37 percent respectively. The most affected banks were Alpha (down 1.99 percent to 24.64 euros) and Emporiki (1.32 percent to 23.50 euros). National lost 0.52 percent, closing at 23.16 euros, while EFG Eurobank gained 0.18 percent, to close at 22.82 euros. Two blue chips that bucked the trend were OTE, which gained 1.76 percent to close at 12.72 euros, and OPAP (0.48 percent to 19.20 euros). Morgan Stanley yesterday raised its target price for OTE to 14.20 euros. Out of the 354 traded stocks, 69 gained, 230 declined and 55 ended unchanged. Turnover rose slightly, to 159.38 million euros, including 26.90 million in prearranged trades.