ATHEX falls below 4,000 points to 18-month low

The benchmark Athens Exchange (ATHEX) index fell 53.64, or 1.3 percent, to 3,999.42 points, its lowest since October 2006. The FTSE/ATHEX 20 index of the country’s biggest companies dropped 1.6 percent to 2,042.77. Trading on the Athens Exchange resumed today after a two-day closure prompted by a strike at the country’s central bank, which held up settlement of previous trades. The bourse traded from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. yesterday. The following stocks were among the most active. ATEbank tumbled 42 cents, or 13 percent, to -2.90, the steepest decline since July 2005. Shares in state-controlled ATEbank fell after analysts at Deutsche Bank downgraded the stock to «sell» from «hold,» while analysts at Marfin Analysis reduced their recommendation to «sell» from «accumulate.» Hellenic Exchanges fell 7.3 percent to -14.92, the biggest drop since September 2003. Hellenic Exchanges is the operator of the Athens stock and derivatives markets. Public Power Corporation (PPC) lost 2.4 percent, to -28, its lowest since January 23. European Union regulators ordered Greece yesterday to stop giving the state-controlled electricity producer «quasi-exclusive» access to lignite, its cheapest available fuel. (Bloomberg)

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