Buyers appear toward session end, limit losses

Stocks fell again on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) yesterday, as investors liquidated profits, this time mostly in medium- and small-capitalization stocks. The session was marked by a heavy early drop and the reappearance of willing buyers when the index reached its intraday low, at 2,903.29 points. The ASE general index closed at 2,919.70 points, a drop of 15.20 points or 0.52 percent. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips shed 0.80 percent to close at 1,603.55 points, while mid- and small-caps declined 0.27 percent and 0.76 percent respectively. Energy firm PPC and OTE Telecom outperformed on good evaluations by foreign banks. PPC gained 2.92 percent to close at 22.58 euros after a Citigroup report raised the target price from 24 euros to 25.50 while maintaining its «buy» recommendation. OTE gained 2.12 percent to close at 13.50 euros after UBS raised the target price to 13.60 euros from 12.50 previously. By contrast, big banks suffered, with EFG Eurobank declining 2.23 percent to close at 24.84 euros, while Alpha and National dropped 2.04 percent and 1.71 percent respectively. Out of 348 traded shares, 69 gained, 218 declined and 61 ended unchanged. Turnover reached 222.55 million euros, including 17.05 million in prearranged trades.

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