Despite an encouraging start, investors yesterday showed a tendency toward profit-taking almost from the start, partly affected by less-than-favorable new data on retail sales and labor costs in the US. Heavyweight banks index shed 1.25 percent and interest continued to be restricted to a relatively small number of mid- and small-caps. Investors also seemed to be waiting for the US Federal Reserve’s next move on interest rates. After three northbound sessions, the Athens Stock Exchange benchmark index closed 1.04 percent down at 3,836.60 points, near the day’s lows. The blue chip index was 1.40 percent down; mid-caps slipped 0.09 percent, while small-caps gained 0.25 percent. Most sectoral indices headed south, with financial services shedding 2.18 percent. Health outperformed, ending 2.32 percent higher. Among blue chips, Viohalco continued attracting strong interest from foreign institutionals and gained 2.31 percent; ATEbank added 1.03 percent; Motor Oil advanced 0.93 percent, and Duty Free Shops was up 0.79 percent. In contrast, Emporiki slumped 2.96 percent, Alpha Bank tumbled 2.90 percent and OPAP was 2.62 percent lower. Eurobank, Cosmote, National Bank, Germanos, Coca-Cola HBC, Hellenic Petroleum and Intracom also headed south. Turnover dropped to 187.94 million euros.