ECONOMY

Profit-taking helps reverse early gains

Stocks posted slight losses yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), failing to hold on to early gains. The ASE general index closed at 3,484.13 points, a drop of 2.30 points or 0.07 percent. Earlier in the session it had reached a high of 3,506.56 points, fueled by National Bank’s excellent third-quarter results. On a weekly basis, it declined 0.71 percent after four straight gains, limiting this year’s overall gains to 25.05 percent. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips declined 0.16 percent to close at 1,945.61 points. Mid-caps gained 0.02 percent and small-caps declined 0.45 percent. National Bank ended 1.44 percent lower at 34.34 euros, as investors locked in gains. However, a barrage of share target price upgrades by foreign investment houses bode well for the future: UBS upped its target price to 45 euros per share, JP Morgan to 43 euros, Citigroup to 40 euros and CSFB to 38 euros. Bottler Coca-Cola and Bank of Piraeus, however, sustained significant losses, dropping 1.09 percent and 1.26 percent respectively. By contrast, Motor Oil gained 2.07 percent, PPC 1.30 percent, Emporiki 1.25 percent and Alpha Bank 1.02 percent. Of 327 traded stocks, 122 gained, 142 declined and 63 ended unchanged. Turnover reached 198.4 million euros, including 17.49 million in prearranged trades.