Heavy selling on blue chips, turnover climbs

A selling run on bellwether National Bank spread negative sentiment on the Athens stock market yesterday, in contrast to major European bourses. Pulled down by sales of other blue chips and affected by the maturing of May derivative contracts tomorrow, the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) general index slumped 1.06 percent, closing at 2,854.91 points. The blue chip FTSE/ASE-20 index dropped 1.21 percent to 1,586.75 points, mid-caps shed 0.90 percent and small-caps fell 0.46 percent. National Bank crashed 3.41 percent, Emporiki fell 3.28 percent and Alpha Bank shed 0.92 percent. Eurobank bucked the trend, ending 0.84 percent up. Refiners also suffered, with Hellenic Petroleum losing 2.72 percent and Motor Oil 2.35 percent. Public Power Corporation ended 2.34 percent lower, Viohalco 3.03 percent and CosmOTE 1.29 percent. Only six of the 18 sectoral indices managed to stay afloat, led by textiles for the second straight day with gains of 1.05 percent. Holdings followed the trend of refineries and banks, losing 2 percent. Decliners outnumbered advancers 145 to 82, while 97 share prices remained unchanged on 324 traded. Turnover, including prearranged block trades, rose considerably to 154.92 million euros.