ASE below 4,000 pts as foreigners keep selling

Stocks dropped significantly for the second day in a row yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange, in a session marked by continued aggressive selling from foreign institutionals. The ASE composite share price index closed at 3,909.65 points, a drop of 111.72 points or 2.77 percent. It was the lowest close since March 8. The index reached a low of 3,839.01 points before buy orders in OTE, Cosmote and National Bank helped contain losses during the last half-hour of the session. The FTSE/Athex 20 index of blue chips dropped 2.72 percent to close at 2,086.14 points, while mid- and small-caps fell 3.29 percent and 1.39 percent, respectively. The FTSE/Athex International index gave back 2.84 percent, to 5,441.77 points. Among the 20 blue chips, only mobile telecommunications service provider Cosmote and its new partner, electronics retailer Germanos, posted gains (0.21 percent and 0.11 percent, respectively), while telecommunications company OTE rallied from 2.5 percent down to close unchanged at 18.20 euros. Ten blue chips lost more than 3 percent, led by ATEbank (down 7.56 percent to 4.16 euros). Turnover reached 570.72 million euros, including 47.52 million in prearranged trades.