ECONOMY

Retreat below 5,000 pts, most banks feel pressure

After eight straight winning sessions, Greek stocks retreated in line with other European bourses yesterday, with losses across the board intensifying toward the end. The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index fell through the 5,000-point barrier conquered two days ago after seven-and-a-half years, closing 1.29 percent down at 4,971.61 points. The FTSE/ATHEX 20 blue chip index lost 1.35 percent, the FTSE/ATHEX Mid-40 ended 1.06 percent lower and the FTSE/ATHEX 80 small-cap index slumped 2.37 percent. The FTSE/ATHEX International index shed 1.28 percent. Postal Savings Bank bucked the trend among blue chips, rising 1.67 percent to -18.30 on the success of its successful 20 percent placement to institutionals. Hellenic Technodomiki was the only other blue chip to stay afloat, while Alpha Bank ended unchanged. By contrast, Intralot tumbled 3.97 percent, Viohalco slid 3.09 percent, Public Power Corporation lost 2.18 percent, OTE dropped 2.16 percent and Motor Oil ended 2.07 percent leaner. Cosmote, Titan and most major banks, ATE, Emporiki, National, Piraeus, Cyprus and Marfin Popular, took the brunt of profit-taking pressures. Turnover totaled -579 million, with OTE, National Bank and Marfin Popular Bank accounting for -174.9 million.