Banks drag Athens bourse down 5.08 percent

Tumbling banks dragged the Athens bourse more than 5 percent lower yesterday as the market tracked its sliding European counterparts while selling pressure picked up after a weak start on Wall Street. Stocks are oversold, but the gloomy picture in foreign markets put off the chances of a technical rebound arising, said Nicholas Bernitsas, analyst at Rate Capital Securities. The bourse’s general index fell 5.08 percent to 2,133.46 points, just above the intrasession low of 2,127.15 points. The FTSE Eurotop 300 was down 4.07 percent and the blue chip DJ Euro Stoxx 50 was off 4.17 percent. Index heavyweight OTE Telecom and Panafon mobile operator both closed unchanged at 17.00 and 4.12 percent respectively. Blue chips lost 5.26 percent to 1,194.98 points, with mid-cap stocks retreating 5.84 percent. Small-caps shed 5.86 percent. Decliners beat advancers 231 to eight with 125 shares unchanged on 364 traded. Turnover was 134.31 million euros on 25.9 million shares changing hands. Then there is the question of foreign language education in Greece. Children begin learning English in the fourth year of primary school, but the quality of language teaching is so low right through the state system that any real acquisition of foreign language proficiency can only be obtained privately.

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