ECONOMY

Controlled correction

The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) general index showed signs of fatigue last week, as investors, also discouraged by new oil price highs, cashed in gains accumulated over the previous three weeks, especially in blue chips and mid-caps. The general index lost 3.15 percent during the week, closing at 3.221.84 points on Friday. Nevertheless, the market correction seems to have had a limited momentum as the index rebounded from lows of 3,195 points of intra-session trading on Thursday. Blue chips came under the strongest pressure, with the FTSE/ASE 20 index shedding 3.30 percent. The mid- and small-cap indices ended 2.85 percent and 2.21 percent lower. Only two sectoral indices moved higher; IT equipment-solutions improved by 2.17 percent and retail trade gained 0.82 percent. Losers were led by holdings, which dived 5.62 percent. Publishing and printing followed 5.14 percent lower, basic metals lost 4.54 percent and banks 4.51 percent. Among individual stocks, Pouliadis & Partners and Microland Computers crashed 37.04 and 36.84 percent lower respectively. Decliners outstripped gainers 224 to 93, while 30 stock prices remained unchanged on 347 traded. Weekly turnover totaled 813.52 million euros, an average per session of 162.70 million, against 161.08 million the week before. Analysts noted that investors on the whole closely follow developments abroad and are restructuring portfolios, opting for stocks largely left out of the recent rally, like Intracom, Bank of Cyprus and Duty Free Shops. They are also anticipating the prime minister’s keynote economic policy speech in Thessaloniki on September 9.