Banks sing the blues, gloom spreads wide

Greek stocks outperformed foreign bourses in a generally gloomy mood yesterday, with losses accelerating in the latter part of the trading session. Banks appeared among the weakest blue chips, while mid-caps were the hardest hit. The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index closed 1.32 percent lower at 4,778.56 points, the FTSE/ATHEX 20 blue chip index was down 1.33 percent, the FTSE/ATHEX Mid-40 slumped 2.23 percent and the FTSE/ATHEX 80 small-cap index lost 1.83 percent. The FTSE/ATHEX International declined 1.50 percent. Only two blue chips stayed afloat, OTE telecom, which advanced 1.53 percent and saved the index from falling more sharply with large turnover, and ATEbank, up 0.52 percent. By contrast, Titan Cement slumped 2.36 percent, Eurobank slipped 2.32 percent, Bank of Cyprus shed 2.22 percent, Postal Savings Bank was 2.17 percent leaner and Piraeus Bank was down 1.95 percent. Hellenic Technodomiki, Intralot, Motor Oil and banks National and Marfin Popular also turned sharply south. The only sectoral index to gain was telecoms, while media declined the most. Turnover came to -353.72 million, of which -67.14 million was in block trades. Eurobank and OTE accounted for -110.6 million.