ASE nosedives on fears of higher euro rates

Stocks took a dive yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), in a session marked by the bleak mood in European markets afraid that rising inflation could lead to higher interest rates. Banks and telecoms came under especially heavy selling pressure. The ASE general index closed at 3,276.81 points, a decline of 64.09 points or 1.92 percent. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips declined 2.01 percent to close at 1,815.10 points, while mid-caps and small-caps declined 1.33 percent and 1.16 percent respectively. Only two blue chips recorded gains: metals group Viohalco (up 0.70 percent to 5.56 euros) and Aluminium of Greece (0.11 percent to 17.76 euros). Also, the Athens Water and Sewage Company (EYDAP) gained 4.40 percent to close at 7.60 euros on rumors that the state will sell part of its stake. By contrast, significant losses were suffered by Motor Oil (down 4.32 percent to 17.70 euros), CosmOTE (3.51 percent to 16.74 euros), Emporiki Bank (3.51 percent to 23.06 euros), National Bank (3.40 percent to 30.70 euros), Piraeus Bank (3.04 percent to 16.58 euros) and PPC (2.27 percent to a year-low 18.08 euros). Of 333 traded stocks, 75 gained, 206 declined and 52 ended unchanged. Turnover reached 289.46 million euros, including 37.5 million in prearranged trades.