ECONOMY

The bears are out in force as gloom sets in

Growing jitters from the US subprime mortgage market crisis, plus fears of more problems in the US housing market spreading out from Wall Street appeared to have a domino effect on bourses worldwide yesterday. The gloom was compounded by rumors of more funds being problematic, this time of Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank. Most market players appear extremely cautious, considering that risks have not yet been fully priced in by the investment community. Many of them fear further unpleasant surprises. The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index closed 2.60 percent lower at 4,635.17 points, the FTSE/ATHEX 20 blue chip index shed 2.78 percent, the FTSE/ATHEX Mid-40 slumped 3.15 percent and the FTSE/ATHEX 80 small-cap index lost 4.45 percent. Only six of the 302 shares traded headed north, and none of the 20 blue chips was among them. Public Power Corporation dived 6.37 percent, and Postal Savings Bank plunged 6.13 percent. Viohalco tumbled 4.99 percent, Hellenic Petroleum was down 4.92 percent, Bank of Cyprus was 4.92 percent and bellwether National Bank slumped 3.11 percent. Cosmote, Intralot, Alpha Bank and Emporiki Bank all lost more than 2 percent. Turnover shot up to -662.72 million, of which -83.16 million was in block trades.