Profit-taking continues; small-caps buck trend

Profit-taking in blue chips and selective interest in mid- and small-caps continued in the Greek stock market yesterday, as other European bourses also opened lower. The Athens Stock Exchange (ATHEX) general index closed 0.56 percent lower at 4,791.10 points, after remaining in negative territory throughout the session. The FTSE/ATHEX 20 blue chip index lost 0.60 percent to close at 2,558.00 points, but the FTSE/ATHEX Mid-40 was 0.63 percent higher and the FTSE/ATHEX 80 small-cap index ended up 0.24 percent. Among blue chips, OTE added 1.11 percent, Postal Savings Bank ended 0.79 percent higher, Cosmote rebounded from heavy losses on Monday with a gain of 0.60 percent, and Titan was 0.23 percent higher. By contrast, Alpha Bank, which is due to announce first-quarter results on Friday, ended 2.24 percent down, Folli-Follie dropped 2.38 percent, Viohalco lost 1.81 percent and Eurobank shed 1.80 percent. Banks Piraeus, Cyprus, National and ATE also headed south, while Emporiki and Hellenic Petroleum were unchanged. Insurance lead sectoral indices with gains of 1.58 percent. Analysts said the fact that the banking index was 1.00 percent lower was not a favorable sign and that the market would need weighty business news to move higher. Turnover rose to -402.4 million, including -34.7 million in prearranged block trades.

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