ECONOMY

Market down 1.68 pct; selling focuses on banks

Stocks declined significantly yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), as investors rushed to sell bank shares. The ASE compound share index closed at 4,507.44 points, a drop of 76.79 points or 1.68 percent. The FTSE/ASE 20 index of blue chips declined 1.85 percent to close at 2,453.73 points, while mid-caps and small-caps declined 1.18 percent and 1.24 percent respectively. The FTSE/Athex International index declined 1.74 percent, closing at 6,436.29 points. All 17 sectoral indices declined. The top losers were insurance (down 3.10 percent), industrial goods and services (2.24 percent), banks (2.22 percent) and food and beverages (2.02 percent). Among blue chips, the top losers were metals group Viohalco (less 3.40 percent to -9.08), National Bank (2.76 percent to -35.98), bottler Coca-Cola HBC (2.71 percent to -30.16), Bank of Cyprus (2.65 percent to -11.02), Alpha Bank (2.62 percent to -23.82), refiner Motor Oil (2.17 percent to -18.92), mobile telecommunications company Cosmote (1.82 percent to -22.60) and Piraeus Bank (1.81 percent to -24.96). By contrast, Marfin Financial Group soared 5.26 percent to an all-time-high of -50. Turnover reached -476.68 million, including -44.07 million in prearranged trades.