Buyers retreat after Bernanke’s forecast

US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s optimism for the US economy in coming quarters, signaling a less likely reduction in interest rates, undercut an initial buying trend on bourses yesterday. The Greek stock market followed suit but losses were light. The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index ended 0.39 percent lower, at 4,898.43 after reaching 0.67 percent higher. The FTSE/ATHEX 20 blue chip index was down 0.23 percent, at 2,622.17 points. The FTSE/ATHEX Mid-40 fell 0.59 percent to 6,236.81 points, and the FTSE/ATHEX 80 small-cap index slipped 0.17 percent lower to 1,092.67 points. Banks spearheaded blue chip gains. Emporiki was 1.25 percent higher, Piraeus added 0.79 percent and Cyprus advanced 0.78 percent. Public Power Corporation and Intralot also inched north. By contrast, ATEbank shed 2.01 percent, Titan 1.41 percent, Cosmote was 1.10 percent lower and the Postal Savings Bank was 1.03 percent leaner. Alpha Bank, Coca-Cola HBC, Motor Oil, National Bank, Viohalco, Hellenic Petroleum, OPAP and OTE ended in negative territory too. Hellenic Technodomiki, Eurobank and Marfin Popular Bank were unchanged. Turnover totaled -410.31 million, including -42.42 million in block trades. Three banks, National, Piraeus and Alpha, as well as OTE accounted for -139 million.

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