Market closes in on 4,000 pts, falls back

Stocks failed to hold on to early gains yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange, ending almost unchanged. The ASE compound share index closed at 3,933.51 points, a decline of 0.70 points or 0.02 percent. During the session, it went as high as 3,968.26 points, a gain of 0.87 percent. The FTSE/Athex 20 index of blue chips declined 0.07 percent to close at 2,150.94 points. Mid-caps declined 0.02 percent and small-caps gained 0.12 percent. The FTSE-Athex International declined 0.05 percent, closing at 5,571.97 points. Among blue chips, the biggest gainers were metals group Viohalco (1.79 percent to 7.96 euros), telecommunications firm OTE (1.78 percent to 19.42 euros), Duty Free Shops (1.09 percent to 13 euros) and jewelry and accessories maker and retailer Folli-Follie (1 percent to 22.30 euros). By contrast, the biggest losses were registered by ATEbank (1.45 percent to 4.08 euros), refiner Hellenic Petroleum (1.41 percent to 9.80 euros), National Bank (1.40 percent to 33.80 euros) and Emporiki Bank (1.14 percent to 22.64 euros). Of 306 traded stocks, 129 gained, 127 declined and 50 ended unchanged. Turnover reached 304.63 million euros, including 60.40 million in prearranged trades.