Late buying limits losses, keeps index above 3,200

Stocks continued their decline yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange, but late-session buying interest limited losses. The ASE general index closed at 3,222.27 points, a decline of 9.22 points or 0.29 percent. During the session, it had declined as much as 1.12 percent. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips declined 0.39 percent to close at 1,796.57 points, while mid- and small-caps declined 0.24 percent and 0.36 percent, respectively. Among blue chips, Duty Free Shops posted the biggest rise (3.45 percent), closing at a year-high 15.56 euros. Other blue chips with significant gains included Intracom (2.31 percent to 5.32 euros), Germanos (1.97 percent to 13.48 euros), Hellenic Petroleum (1.07 percent to 9.46 euros) and OPAP (0.47 percent to 25.62 euros). By contrast, metals group Viohalco lost 2.44 percent to close at 5.60 euros; it was followed by Alpha Bank (1.45 percent to 21.70 euros), construction group Hellenic Technodomiki (1.39 percent to 4.26 euros) and Piraeus Bank (1.24 percent to 16.28 euros). Of 325 traded stocks, 92 gained, 163 declined and 70 ended unchanged. Turnover declined slightly to 196.22 million euros, including 3.77 million in prearranged trades.