Stock exchange slips 0.73 pct to a new year-low

Equities fell to a new year-low yesterday, as first-quarter bank profit concerns hit battered financials, dragging the benchmark general index lower for a fifth straight session. Brokers said selling pressure from foreign investors delayed a largely expected technical rebound, as banks lost 4.5 percent this week on stock overhang concerns after the government announced the State will reduce its stake in National and Commercial banks. The Athens bourse benchmark general index lost 0.73 percent to 2,316.78 points, bringing its weekly losses to 2.8 percent. Its previous year-low stood at 2,321.55 points. The bank subindex lost 0.89 percent. Telecoms were also under pressure, losing 0.60 percent. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips retreated 0.65 percent to 1,250.56 points, while the FTSE/ASE-40 index of mid-caps slipped 0.49 percent and small-caps on the FTSE/ASE-80 lost 0.50 percent. The bourse will be closed on Monday, March 25 for a national holiday. Turnover was 152.54 million euros on 23.7 million shares traded. Losers beat winners 232 to 76, with 48 shares unchanged on 356 traded.(Reuters) Exchanges to rest

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