Profit-taking cuts index to short of 2,800 points

Profit-taking mainly in small- and middle-capitalization stocks yesterday did not allow the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) to stay above 2,800 points yesterday, its highest level since November 2001. The general index closed 0.15 percent lower at 2.784.42 points, with most shares registering losses. Among Financial Times indices, the blue chip 20 shed 0.15 percent, the Mid-Cap 40 ended 0.74 percent lower and the Small-Cap 80 declined 0.24 percent. Among sectoral indices, banks lost 0.39 percent, despite a 0.33 percent by bellwether National Bank which rose to a new year-high of 24.36 euros. Emporiki also gained 0.53 percent. Basic metals’ decline was the steepest, 3.22 percent, mainly due to a near-limit down performance by Aluminium of Greece after news of the acquisition of a 53 percent stake by the Mytilineos group at a considerable discount. Among other blue chips, CosmOTE also rose to a new year-high with gains of 0.68 percent, OPAP likewise by advancing 0.83 percent, and Coca-Cola HBC advanced 1.47 percent. Decliners outnumbered winners 167 to 105, with 83 unchanged on 355 traded. Turnover reached 117.25 million euros.