Correction continues as banks, OTE lose steam

Greek shares stuck to their recent southbound course yesterday, in contrast to the positive mood on foreign markets. Analysts said correction sentiment appeared to be sinking in after recent steady gains, and this was aided by a warning of caution by Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis on Tuesday and the general impression that the search for a strategic investor for OTE telecom is not making progress. The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) general index was down 0.68 percent at 4,729.91 points. The blue chip FTSE/ASE 20 index declined 0.77 percent, the FTSE/ASE Mid-40 ended down 0.23 percent and the FTSE/ASE Small-Cap 80 shed 0.50 percent. Coca-Cola HBC led blue chip decliners for a second day in row, slumping 3.75 percent, Postal Savings Bank dropped 3.52 percent, OTE shed 2.96 percent and Folli-Follie ended 2.83 percent lower. All five major banks were also down, along with Titan cement and Cosmote. By contrast, Bank of Cyprus was up 2.18 percent, Hellenic Technodomiki advanced 1.90 percent, Intralot gained 1.58 percent and Motor Oil added 1.19 percent. ATEbank, Viohalco, Public Power Corporation, Hellenic Petroleum and OPAP also headed north. Turnover totaled -474.67 million, of which 54 percent was accounted for by banks National, Alpha, Piraeus and Cyprus, and OTE.