ECONOMY

Few moves in subdued pre-holiday session

Stocks barely budged yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), the last session before the Easter holiday. The ASE general index closed at 2,868.45 points, a decline of just 0.33 points or 0.01 percent. On a weekly basis, the index lost 2.16 percent. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips declined 0.18 percent to close at 1,590 points, while mid- and small-caps gained 0.47 percent and 0.39 percent respectively. There was some selling of bank stocks, despite a positive report on the sector by investment bank Merrill Lynch, which said that Greek banks offer discounts relative to European counterparts. Merrill Lynch also raised its target price on National’s shares to 34 euros. Despite that, the three biggest banks declined: National dropped 1.14 percent to close at 26.08 euros, Alpha Bank lost 0.71 percent, closing at 25.02 euros, and EFG Eurobank declined 1.92 percent, to 23.48 euros. A few blue chips posted significant gains: These were Intracom (up 5.38 percent to 3.92 euros), Viohalco (4.29 percent to 5.84 euros), CosmOTE and Coca-Cola HBC (both 2.37 percent). Out of 322 traded stocks, 152 gained, 91 declined and 79 ended unchanged. Turnover reached 101.33 million euros. The ASE will resume trading on Tuesday.