ECONOMY

Stock market stabilized by large block trades

Greek stocks moved toward stability yesterday, amid southward trends elsewhere in Europe after decisions by the European Central Bank and the Bank of England to raise their basic rates. The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) benchmark index edged down just 0.03 percent, closing at 3,793.34 points. Most shares registered losses, particularly small-caps. The blue chip index was 0.06 higher, the mid-cap index slid 0.31 percent and small-caps shed 0.81 percent. Only a few sectoral indices recorded modest gains, led by construction and commerce; media was the heaviest loser, plunging 3.18 percent lower, followed by insurance and telecoms. Blue chip advancers were led by Cosmote, 1.55 percent up, and National Bank, 1.12 percent higher. Eurobank continued rising, gaining 0.98 percent. In contrast, OTE telecom tumbled 2.11 percent, ATEbank slid 2.02 percent, and Viohalco shed 1.35 percent. Turnover surged to 329.4 million euros, of which 147.7 million, or 44.8 percent, was accounted for by prearranged block trades, mainly of Emporiki Bank shares (55.6 million) – which Credit Agricole is still buying – National Bank (22.4 million) and Hygeia (20.3 million), of which a 13.5 percent stake was sold by Marfin Bank to institutionals from abroad.