ECONOMY

Decline for blue chips after four days of gains

The benchmark Athens Exchange (ATHEX) index fell for the first time in five days, losing 61.26 points, or 1.4 percent, to 4,316.59. The FTSE/ATHEX 20 index of the country’s largest companies lost 1.2 percent to 2,247.17 points. Alpha Bank gained 38 cents, or 1.8 percent, to -21.18, climbing for a second day. Greece’s third-largest bank said annual profit jumped by 54 percent last year to -850 million ($1.26 billion) as it sold off an insurance unit and increased lending. Jumbo lost 38 cents, or 2 percent, to -18.82, the biggest one-day decline in a week. The share price estimate for the toy retailer was cut by Deutsche Bank AG, Citigroup Inc and Marfin Analysis amid concern an economic slowdown may hurt earnings. Motor Oil Hellas fell 30 cents, or 2.1 percent, to -14.12, the first decline in five days. Greece’s second-biggest refiner said after the market close that net income rose to -149.9 million last year from -127.6 million in 2006. Titan Cement company dropped to the lowest since November 2005, losing -1.28, or 4.2 percent, to -29.42. Greece’s biggest cement maker said yesterday after the market close that annual profits fell for the first time since 1993 as a US housing slowdown crimped demand for building materials. (Bloomberg)