Profit-taking sends index below 3,400 pts

Greek stocks succumbed to a wave of profit-taking yesterday which affected all capitalizations. The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) general index shed 0.77 percent, closing at 3,391.42 points. The blue chips FTSE/ASE 20 index ended 0.65 percent lower, at 1,890.50 points, the FTSE/ASE Mid 40 declined 0.94 percent and the FTSE/ASE Small-Cap 80 lost 0.91 percent. Only two of the 18 sectoral indices headed north, printing and publishing, and non-metallic minerals. Refineries (-2.33 percent) and information technology (-1.18 percent) were the worst hit. A number of blue chips registered modest gains. Soccer betting and lottery firm OPAP gained 0.81 percent, Titan Cement 0.68 percent, metals group Viohalco 0.71 percent and phone and accessories retailer Germanos 0.75 percent. In contrast, several others came under strong pressure, notably CosmOTE (-2.64 percent) Alpha Bank (-2.41 percent), Hellenic Petroleum (-2.72 percent) and Hyatt (-1.95 percent). Turnover declined to 174.75 million euros, of which about 83 million was accounted for by the five most heavily traded securities, OTE telecom, Eurobank, OPAP, CosmOTE and National Bank.

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