Profit-taking in blue chips drags index down

Stocks declined yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), as investors sold blue chips in order to lock in short-term profits. However, interest in medium- and small-capitalization firms remained unabated. The ASE general index closed at 3,612.99 points, a decline of 13.88 points or 0.38 percent. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips declined 0.65 percent to close at 1,997.49 points, while mid-caps and small-caps gained 1.41 percent and 0.65 percent respectively. Among blue chips, significant gains were made by casino and hotel operator Hyatt (up 6.04 percent to 10.54 euros), construction group Hellenic Technodomiki (4.76 percent to 4.84 euros) and metals group Viohalco (3.45 percent to 6.60 euros). Mobile telecommunications service provider Cosmote gained 0.74 percent to close at a year-high 19.14 euros. Significant losses were sustained by EFG Eurobank (down 2.15 percent to 26.42 euros), refiners Hellenic Petroleum (1.81 percent to 11.60 euros) and Motor Oil (1.51 percent to 19.60 euros), Emporiki Bank (1.46 percent to 25.62 euros) and telecommunications company OTE (1.19 percent to 18.24 euros). Of the 323 traded shares, 140 gained, 118 declined and 65 ended unchanged. Turnover reached 288.58 million euros, including 61.6 million in prearranged trades.