Slight downturn as small-caps face pressure

Stocks declined slightly yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange, in a session marked by thinner trade, few fluctuations and heavy selling pressure on small-capitalization stocks, 40 of which set new year lows. The ASE general index closed at 2,712.72 points, a decline of 3.20 points or 0.12 percent. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips gained 0.04 percent to close at 1,503.54 points, while mid- and small-caps declined 0.31 percent and 1.54 percent, respectively. Investor interest focused mostly on banks, with EFG Eurobank once again outperforming the others, gaining 1.24 percent to close at a fresh year-high of 24.44 euros. Piraeus Bank was up 0.50 percent, to 12.18 euros, as were National (0.42 percent to 23.68 euros) and Alpha Bank (0.32 percent to 24.90 euros). Falling blue chips included bottler Coca-Cola HBC (2.07 percent to 17.04 euros) and OTE Telecom (1.22 percent or 12.92 euros). Out of 355 traded stocks, 71 gained, 215 declined and 67 ended unchanged. Turnover fell to 127.89 million euros, including 46.86 million in prearranged trades. The most heavily traded stocks in terms of shares sold were AEGEK, Piraeus Leasing, Ipirotiki and EFG Eurobank.