Blue chip sales lead index close to 2,900 pts

Stocks fell for a third session in a row on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday, with the general index barely holding on to the 2,900-point level as investors kept offloading blue chips and despite signs of resistance from medium- and small-capitalization stocks. The ASE general index closed at 2,902.76 points, a drop of 16.94 points or 0.58 percent. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips declined 0.66 percent to close at 1,592.92 points. Mid-caps lost 0.11 percent, while small-caps gained 0.11 percent. Some blue chips advanced, among them Intracom (up 2.38 percent to 4.30 euros), Folli-Follie (0.64 percent to 23.46 euros), Viohalco (0.60 percent to 6.70 euros), Germanos (0.59 percent to 23.78 euros) and PPC (0.53 percent to 22.70 euros). By contrast, OPAP shed 1.91 percent, Titan and Emporiki Bank 1.62 percent each and Alpha Bank 1.28 percent. Both OTE Telecom and its mobile communications subsidiary, CosmOTE, lost 0.92 percent to close at 13.44 and 15 euros respectively. Out of 355 traded shares, 105 gained, 175 declined and 75 ended unchanged. Turnover reached 205.15 million euros, including 62.83 million euros in prearranged trades. The bulk of those concerned the trade of an 8.24 percent share in packager Maillis to Citigroup, which will sell, in turn, to foreign institutionals.

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