Correction leaves no sure clues of duration

Greek stocks headed south yesterday after four straight winning sessions, after pressures on blue chips spread to mid- and small-caps. Several analysts said the correction would probably be short-lived, given the still healthy mood in foreign markets. Some attributed it to a warning by Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis that investors should exercise caution in a bull market. The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) general index was down 0.84 percent at 4,762.17 points. The blue chip FTSE/ASE 20 index declined 0.84 percent, the FTSE/ASE Mid-40 ended down 0.46 percent and the FTSE/ASE Small-Cap 80 shed 0.85 percent. Coca-Cola HBC led blue chip decliners, tumbling 3.98 percent, OTE telecom shed 2.95 percent, Postal Savings Bank ended 2.78 percent lower and gaming systems firm Intralot dropped 2.69 percent. All six major banks were also down, along with Viohalco, Hellenic Petroleum and Hellenic Technodomiki. By contrast, Titan Cement outperformed with gains of 2.99 percent, gaming firm OPAP ended 1.04 percent higher and Public Power Corporation gained 0.28 percent. Twelve of the 17 sectoral indices were lower, led by food and beverages, while chemicals headed the winners. Turnover rose to -548.4 million, a worrying sign in a southbound session, according to some analysts.