Blue chips drag Athens general index lower

Stocks continued their decline on Monday at the Athens Stock Exchange (ATHEX), bucking the trend on most European markets. Yesterday the bourse was closed due to the May Day holiday. The ATHEX composite share index closed at 4,736.83 points, down from 4,792.62 points, a drop of 1.16 percent. The FTSE/ATHEX 20 index of blue chips declined 1.51 percent to close at 2,523.13 points. The mid-cap and small-cap indices showed greater resistance falling by just 0.29 percent and 0.28 percent respectively. The FTSE/ATHEX International declined by 1.33 percent, closing at 6,726.95 points. Most sectoral indices moved southward, led by telecoms (down 2.17 percent), travel and leisure (1.77 percent) and banks (1.60 percent). However, the health and trade indices posted considerable gains, rising by 3.28 percent and 2.56 percent respectively. Among blue chips, National Bank fared worst (less 2.87 percent), likely due to its exposure to the Turkish market, which witnessed a massive drop. OTE shares dropped by 2.66 percent, despite the company’s upgrade by Bear Stearns to «outperform,» saying that the telecommunications group was operationally better placed than its peers. The top gainers were power utility PPC (up 2.01), Motor Oil (0.57 percent) and Titan cement (0.49 percent). Turnover reached -318.8 million, including -32.2 million in prearranged trades.