Bank stock sales lead index close to 3,000 pts

Stocks once again lost ground yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), as investors continued to rid themselves of bank stocks in the wake of uncertainty over a solution for bank employees’ money-losing auxiliary pension funds. Turnover remained at low levels, a sure sign that potential buyers expect more of a slide. The ASE general index closed at 3,007.54 points, a decline of 42.26 points or 1.39 percent. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips declined 1.69 percent to close at 1,687.94 points. Mid-caps also declined – 1.28 percent – but small-caps posted modest gains (0.17 percent). Emporiki Bank was, for the second day in a row, the focus of selling. As a consequence, it plunged 5.73 percent to close at 23.68 euros. The other big banks also fell significantly: Eurobank (down 3.01 percent to 25.82 euros), Alpha (2.68 percent to 23.20 euros), National (2.55 percent to 27.48 euros) and Piraeus (1.30 percent to 15.10 euros). Some blue chips resisted the trend. They included Hellenic Petroleum (up 1.69 percent to 8.42 euros), Intracom (0.94 percent to 4.28 euros) and OPAP (0.75 percent to 21.42 euros). Of the 331 traded stocks, 96 gained, 152 declined and 83 ended unchanged. Turnover rose slightly to 143.54 million euros, including 24.8 million in prearranged trades.

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