Late run on banks erases early gains

Stocks dropped further yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), as selling pressure on banks built up toward the end, erasing early gains. The ASE general index closed at 2,854.91 points, a decline of 14.22 points or 0.50 percent. During the volatile session, the index ranged from 2,915.24 points (a gain of 1.60 percent) to 2,844.93 points (a decline of 0.85 percent). Overall, the general index has dived 9.23 percent in March, limiting its gains so far this year to 2.47 percent. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips declined 0.69 percent to close at 1,593.44 points. Mid- and small-caps moved only marginally, with the former dropping 0.09 percent and the latter rising 0.06 percent. Despite the fall, several blue chips posted small gains: they included Motor Oil (up 1.87 percent to 10.92 euros), Coca-Cola HBC (1.46 percent to 19.40 euros), Piraeus Bank (0.72 percent to 14 euros) and Intracom (0.56 percent to 3.86 euros). By contrast, other blue chips suffered significant losses: these were Viohalco (down 4.63 percent to 6.16 euros), Emporiki Bank (2.30 percent to 20.38 euros) and Hellenic Petroleum (2.03 percent to 7.72 euros). Out of 333 traded stocks, 115 gained, 140 declined and 78 ended unchanged. Turnover reached 223.64 million euros.

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