Stocks continue drop, but trade volume rises

Stocks continued their decline yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange, tracking other European markets. The ASE has fallen more steeply than other European markets over the past three sessions, but that is because it had risen more steeply in previous weeks, market experts said, adding that they still considered profit-taking as the main cause of the drop. The ASE general index closed at 3,231.49 points, a drop of 46.40 points or 1.42 percent. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips declined 1.38 percent to close at 1,796.57 points, while mid- and small-caps fell 1.79 percent and 1.19 percent, respectively. Only two blue-chip stocks ended with gains: bottler Coca-Cola HBC (up 0.64 percent to 25 euros), and cement firm Titan (0.29 percent to 28.06 euros). By contrast, metals group Viohalco shed 4.01 percent to close at 5.74 euros; it was followed by electricity company PPC (down 3.16 percent to 19.60 euros), Hellenic Petroleum (1.89 percent to 9.36 euros), Alpha Bank (1.78 percent to 22.02 euros) and Cosmote (1.72 percent to 15.98 euros). Of 328 traded stocks, 55 gained, 220 declined and 53 ended unchanged. Turnover jumped to 196.22 million euros, including 13.30 million in prearranged trades.