Profit-taking leads ASE off highs; small-caps up

Stocks lost some ground yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange as investors locked in short-term gains from last week’s rise that resulted in a four-and-a-half-year high. There was increased interest in construction, insurance and IT equipment and solutions stocks. The ASE general index closed at 3,316 points, a drop of 10.64 points or 0.32 percent. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips declined 0.41 percent to close at 1,842.55 points. Mid-caps declined 0.20 percent and small-caps gained 0.42 percent. A few blue chips ended with gains, including telecommunications equipment maker Intracom (3.03 percent to 5.44 euros), bottler Coca-Cola HBC (1.96 percent to 24.965 euros, a new year-high), casino and hotel operator Hyatt (0.93 percent to 10.80 euros) and Duty Free Shops (0.53 percent to 15.26 euros). By contrast, mobile telecommunications company CosmOTE declined 2.15 percent to close at 16.40 euros; it was followed by refiner Hellenic Petroleum (1.44 percent to 9.56 euros), Emporiki Bank (1 percent to 25.78 euros), and Piraeus Bank (0.95 percent to 16.64 euros). Turnover dropped to 119.63 million euros, including 3.93 million in prearranged trades.