ECONOMY

Investors abandon the bourse

The local bourse yesterday suffered its worst one-day losses of the past 17 months, with investors departing the market in droves and banks once more taking the worst beating on a day of a general decline in European markets. The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index closed at 1,729.68 points, declining by 6.68 percent from Monday’s close at 1,853.55 points. The blue chip FTSE/ATHEX 20 index, whose stocks accounted for 92 percent of the day’s turnover, shrank by 7.35 percent to end at 844.71 points. The worries of a protracted and deeper recession have added to the bearish mood, while the new investment incentives bill has been postponed until the fall. Last Thursday may have seen the biggest rise of the last 20 years for banks, with gains of 13.08 percent for their sectoral index, but yesterday they registered the biggest decline of the last two decades with losses of 10.3 percent. National Bank dropped 12.71 percent to lead blue chip losers, while Alpha Bank shed 11.17 percent. The only blue chip to post gains yesterday was Titan cement (up 1.95 percent). In total, 23 stocks went up against 169 heading southward. Turnover amounted to 215.1 million euros, up from Monday’s 135.3 million euros.