Rush to sell bank shares pushes market lower

Stocks declined yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), in a session marked by downward pressure on banks. The ASE composite share price index closed at 4,142.11 points, a drop of 26.11 points or 0.63 percent. The FTSE/Athex 20 index of blue chips declined 0.72 percent to close at 2,271.91 points, while mid- and small-caps declined 0.95 percent and 1.71 percent respectively. The FTSE/Athex International index fell 0.78 percent, closing at 5,785.96 points. A few blue chips bucked the trend and gained. The leaders were jewelry maker and retailer Folli-Follie (up 3.08 percent to 14.04 euros), technology holding company Intracom (1.63 percent to 4.98 euros) and telecommunications company OTE (0.23 percent to 17.56 euros). By contrast, significant losses were sustained by ATEbank (down 0.43 percent to 4.66 euros), Alpha Bank (1.44 percent to 24.72 euros), Emporiki Bank (1.98 percent to 23.78 euros) and EFG Eurobank (0.22 percent to 26.84 euros). Out of 319 traded shares, 64 gained, 214 declined and 41 ended unchanged. Turnover reached 303.80 million euros, including 78.13 million in prearranged trades. Notable among the latter was the transfer of 1,815,916 Alpha Bank shares (a 0.62 percent stake) at 29.75 euros each.