Market loses ground as profit-taking kicks in

Stocks dropped significantly yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), following three sessions during which the market had gained 4.35 percent. The ASE composite share price index closed at 4,026.02 points, a decline of 50.53 points or 1.24 percent. Earlier in the session, it had climbed as high as 4,102.95 points. The FTSE/Athex 20 index of blue chips fell 1.46 percent to close at 2,223.79 points, while mid- and small-caps declined 0.73 percent and 2.56 percent respectively. The FTSE/Athex International index declined 1.39 percent, closing at 5,618.99 points. A few blue chips bucked the trend and ended with gains, notably metals group Viohalco (up 1.75 percent to 8.12 euros), bottler Coca-Cola HBC (1.29 percent to 25.22 euros), Piraeus Bank (1.08 percent to 24.44 euros) and electricity company PPC (0.53 percent to 18.80 euros). Most of them, however, sustained big losses, among them refiner Hellenic Petroleum (down 3.33 percent to 11.02 euros), betting company OPAP (3.11 percent to 31.78 euros), Alpha Bank (3.02 percent to 29.50 euros) and cement maker Titan (2.43 percent to 38.54 euros). Out of 321 traded shares, 68 gained, 217 declined and 36 ended unchanged. Turnover reached 322.62 million euros, including 55.78 million in prearranged trades.