Heavy selling in banks ends winning streak

Stocks declined yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), following six sessions during which the general index gained a total of 4.65 percent. The reason for the decline was short-term profit-taking, especially in banks. Despite the overall decline, however, the majority of stocks ended with gains. The ASE general index closed at 2,941.43 points, a drop of 23.15 points or 0.78 percent. During the session, it fell as much as 1.50 percent, to 2,920.14 points, but recovered toward the end. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips fell 1.17 percent to close at 1,633.88 points, while mid- and small-caps gained 0.37 percent and 0.99 percent respectively. All major banks declined significantly: Piraeus, down 3.02 percent to 14.12 euros; Emporiki, 2.43 percent to 25.74 euros; National, 1.96 percent to 26 euros; Alpha Bank, 1.48 percent to 26.58 euros; and Eurobank, 1.24 percent to 25.40 euros. By contrast, Duty Free Shops gained 2.76 percent to close at 14.90 euros. Other significant gainers included Agricultural Bank (up 5.80 percent) and Aluminium of Greece (2.25 percent), while Mytilineos and Rokas set new year highs. Out of 355 traded shares, 192 gained, 122 declined and 43 ended unchanged. Turnover reached 222.58 million euros.