The Athens market withstood most of the pressure generated by the negative climate abroad and the general index closed the week with limited losses. The index lost 1.03 percent of its value over the last week, closing on Friday at 4,850.15 points, from 4,900.51 points the week before. The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) remained firm against liquidation trends originating from abroad, as certain blue chips such as Alpha Bank and Piraeus Bank helped the general index limit its losses. The persistent rumors circulating during the week concerning HSBC’s interest in Alpha Bank and EFG Eurobank were denied by top officials of the two banks, while the general meeting of OTE telecom approved the distribution of a dividend for the first time after two financial years. However, it was small- and mid-caps which buoyed the market, hence the weekly rise of their indices (up 1.24 percent and 0.83 percent respectively). Among sectoral indices, raw materials outperformed with a 2.83 percent rise, followed by mass media (1.72 percent) and financial services (1.32 percent). Utilities had the greatest losses (down 5.43 percent), with telecommunications declining by 2.61 percent and travel and entertainment by 1.60 percent. Turnover posted a considerable rise last week, due to corporate deals transacted via the stock market such as the sale by Periklis Panagopoulos of a 22.25 percent stake in Minoan Lines to the Laskaridis group. The week starting today will see the public offering of Aegean Airlines from Wednesday to Friday and probably new developments in the coastal shipping and fish-farming sectors. Procedures for the share capital increase of Marfin will also continue.