Foreign institutionals await happier news

The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) continued its low-key performance yesterday as foreign institutionals appeared to be waiting for developments on the privatization front before entering the market again. The general index closed 0.42 percent higher at 2,903.30 points, mainly driven by blue chips, especially banks and refineries, whose sectoral indices gained 0.40 and 1.17 percent respectively. Among FTSE indices, blue chips advanced 0.45 percent to 1,620.00 points and mid-caps added 0.11 percent, but small-caps slipped 0.09 percent. Alpha Bank continued its recent rebound, finishing up 1.28 percent, Public Power Corporation (PPC) was 1.39 percent higher, Coca-Cola HBC advanced 2.77 percent and Hyatt climbed 3.35 percent. Hellenic Petroleum and Motor Oil also continued recent gains, adding 1.02 and 1.42 percent respectively. Eleven of the 18 sectoral indices, however, finished lower. Insurance declined the most, 1.57 percent. In contrast, information technology continued outperforming, with gains of 1.82 percent. Decliners outnumbered winners 143 to 93, while 96 share prices remained unchanged on 332 traded. Turnover fell again, to 94.18 million euros, of which 40 million was accounted for by the four securities with the largest turnover: Alpha Bank, OTE, PPC and CosmOTE.