Blue chips disappoint

The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) general index closed last Thursday at 3,579.75 points, a loss of 50.23 points, or 1.38 percent on the previous week’s close, largely due to the weakness of blue chips which again determined the performance of the market as a whole. Total turnover for the four trading sessions (data for Friday’s trading session was unavailable) reached 1.16 billion euros, an average of 290.82 million euros per session, from 258.36 million the previous week. Small-caps continued outperforming, but the FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips ended 2.08 percent lower, closing at 1,972.73 points. The FTSE/ASE Mid-40 went up 1.94 percent to close at 3,270.15 points and the FTSE/ASE Small-Cap 80 gained 4.67 percent. Half of the 18 sectoral indices ended with gains, led by IT solutions which finished 8.98 percent higher. Construction and holdings surged 5.09 percent and 4.87 percent respectively. The steepest decliners were banks (-3.07 percent) and retail commerce (-3.02 percent). IT firm Altec headed the list of the most heavily traded shares, with an average turnover of 191.40 million euros per session. It was trailed by National Bank (25.89 million), OTE (20.89 million) and Eurobank (17.58 million). Analysts argue that listed firms are trying to improve their valuations in view of the end of the year, in order to list capital gains on their balance sheets. Basic shareholders and institutional investors are taking up positions in mid-caps and small-caps that have missed previous upward cycles, and the trend is likely to continue in the coming days.