Market displays weak confidence in prospects

Greek stocks headed south for the fourth consecutive session yesterday, with hopes fading for a recapture of the 4,000-point barrier. The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) general index ended 0.63 percent lower, at 3,893.05 points. Blue chips continued to display weakness, as foreign institutionals limited themselves to moves for restructuring portfolios or profit-taking and domestic managers appeared to be betting on a correction. The blue chip FTSE/ASE 20 index shed 0.63 percent, the FTSE/ASE Mid-40 lost 0.78 percent and the FTSE/ASE Small-Cap 80 slipped 0.43 percent. Characteristically, Viohalco was the top blue chip gainer, adding only 1 percent. Intracom added 0.82 percent and OPAP, which accounted for over a quarter of turnover on account of two block trades totaling 2.68 million shares, ended 0.75 percent higher. Piraeus Bank, Germanos and Hyatt also edged up. In contrast, Motor Oil slumped 2.94 percent, OTE dropped 1.94 percent and Titan shed 1.91 percent. All other major banks, ATE, National, Emporiki, Alpha and Eurobank, as well as Folli-Follie, Cosmote, Duty Free Shops, Coca-Cola HBC and Hellenic Petroleum ended in negative territory. Most sectoral indices were lower, with financial services hit hardest. Turnover totaled 279.65 million euros.