Index heads deeper south as banks buckle

Greek stocks lost further steam yesterday, in line with other European markets and with banks coming under strong selling pressure. The Athens Stock Exchange general index closed 0.83 percent lower at 4,268.87 points. Only mid-caps bucked the trend, with the FTSE/Athex Mid-40 index edging 0.22 percent higher. The blue chip FTSE/Athex 20 shed 1.30 percent, while the FTSE/Athex Small-Cap 80 dropped 0.48 percent. Most sectoral indices slid lower, with financial services, banks, chemicals and insurance hit the hardest. In contrast, raw materials and industrial products surged 3.07 percent and 2.72 percent higher respectively. Among blue chips, Eurobank lost 4.09 percent, Alpha Bank 2.0 percent, National Bank 1.93 percent and Piraeus Bank 1.26 percent. Emporiki bucked the trend, adding 1.41 percent. Other blue chips fared better. Viohalco advanced 3.27 percent, Motor Oil added 2.58 percent and Titan gained 1.63 percent. Sidenor led mid-cap winners, surging 11.38 percent. Frigoglass ended 6.54 percent higher and Jumbo advanced 4.27 percent. Turnover totaled 509.28 million euros, of which 182.8 million was accounted for by the four most marketable securities, OPAP, Eurobank, Germanos and National Bank.