Profit-taking takes index below 4,000 pts

Greek stocks, particularly blue chips, came under profit-taking pressure yesterday, in the midst of a subdued mood on other European markets. The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) general index was 0.70 percent lower at 3,984.47 points. The blue chip FTSE/ASE 20 index shed 0.67 percent, the FTSE/ASE Mid-40 edged 0.01 percent higher and the FTSE/ASE Small-Cap 80 added just 0.08 percent. Only three blue chips realized gains: Duty Free Shops (up 1.69 percent), Eurobank (0.81 percent) and Alpha Bank (0.55 percent). The Public Power Corporation led decliners by tumbling 3.52 percent lower, Intracom dropped 2.38 percent, Cosmote declined 1.59 percent, OTE fell 1.52 percent, ATEbank was 1.50 percent lower and Titan lost 1.20 percent. All but one of the sectoral indices headed south, with utilities sustaining the most pressure (down 3.11 percent). Raw materials added just 0.12 percent and banks ended 0.11 percent lower. Despite the subdued mood, most analysts remain cautiously optimistic, considering that the picture is much improved and that the bourse can head further north, depending on a positive climate abroad. Turnover totaled 303.08 million euros.