ECONOMY

Defenses tumble all round as bears charge

Greek stocks came under strong pressure in thick trade yesterday, in the midst of deteriorating sentiment abroad, with the Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index again falling below 5,000 points. Mid- and small-caps were the hardest hit. The general index closed 1.78 percent lower at 4,977.50 points, the FTSE/ATHEX 20 blue chip index lost 1.77 percent, the FTSE/ATHEX Mid-40 dropped 2.42 percent and the FTSE/ATHEX 80 small-cap index fell 2.56 percent. Only two blue chips ended in positive territory. Emporiki Bank added 1.15 percent and Coca Cola HBC gained 1.07 percent. In contrast, Hellenic Petroleum was pummeled 4.59 percent lower, Viohalco tumbled 3.78 percent, Bank of Cyprus slumped 3.64 percent, Intralot dropped 3.52 percent, OTE descended 3.44 percent, and bellwether National Bank was 2.12 percent lower. Food and beverages was the only one of the 17 sectoral indices that stayed afloat. Media was hardest hit, tumbling 5.76 percent, followed by technology with losses of 4.04 percent, and industrial products and services with 3.86 percent. Turnover came to -756.97 million, of which -243.96 million corresponded to a block of 25.36 million shares of Marfin Popular Bank sold at -9.62 each. National Bank accounted for -94.96 million.