Gloom continues for fifth straight session

Greek stock prices resumed their southward course in the first trading day after Easter and for the fifth consecutive session against a relatively positive climate elsewhere in Europe. Analysts said negative sentiment seems to be taking root, mainly the result of concerns regarding the effect of the application of International Financial Reporting Standards on firms’ balance sheets. This seems to have been compounded by revised 2004 results, according to chartered accountants’ notes, which overturn the initial picture for many firms. The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) general index shed 1.20 percent to close at 2,833.89 points, with 30 stock prices hitting year-lows. Blue chips were the most affected, with the FTSE/ASE 20 index ending 1.43 percent lower. Mid-caps shed 0.59 percent and small-caps 0.71 percent. Among the 18 sectoral indices, only three managed to stay afloat, retail commerce, wholesale commerce and real estate. The telecoms index was the heaviest loser, ending 2.46 percent down, with mobile operator CosmOTE declining 3.67 percent. Banks were also badly affected, especially Emporiki, which shed 2.68 percent. Decliners outnumbered advancers 188 to 74, while 60 share prices were unchanged. Turnover reached 158.3 million euros.