Year’s gains wiped out on ‘Black Monday’

Stocks plunged yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), wiping out all gains made since the beginning of the year. The ASE took its cue from declining European bourses, which closed at four-month lows, but its decline was even sharper, like those of emerging markets. The presence of many foreign hedge funds in the market (about 400) encouraged aggressive sales. The ASE composite share price index closed at 3,649.02 points, a drop of 229.78 points or 5.92 percent. The index has dropped 15.47 percent from its May 8 peak of 4,316.98 points. The FTSE/ASE 20 index of blue chips dropped 5.64 percent to close at 1,953.70 points, while mid- and small-caps declined 7.81 percent and 8.98 percent respectively. The FTSE/Athex International index dropped 6.22 percent, to 5,085.91 points. All blue chips fell, led by technology holding company Intracom (down 13.44 percent to 5.28 euros), metals group Viohalco (9.88 percent to 7.66 euros), National Bank (7.89 percent to 31.04 euros), EFG Eurobank (6.85 percent to 21.20 euros) and Emporiki Bank (6.69 percent to 24 euros). Out of 310 traded shares, 10 gained, 290 declined and 10 ended unchanged. Turnover reached 498.99 million euros, including 23.55 million in prearranged trades.