Stocks drop beneath 1,500 pts

After eight bourse sessions in which the main index of the local stock market remained above the 1,500-point level, the fresh pressure on banks and soaring Greek bond spreads dragged the index below the psychologically important threshold. The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index closed at 1,468.86 points yesterday, posting a 3.71 percent decline from Wednesday’s close at 1,525.53 points. The blue chip FTSE/ATHEX 20 index fell 4.16 percent to end at 692.03 points. Goldman Sachs cut the price targets for many Greek banks, assigning a «sell» rating for National Bank, Piraeus Bank and Hellenic Postbank, sending the banks sectoral index down by 4.48 percent. The ratings agency gave four more banks a «neutral» rating. The blue chips that had the biggest losses were Mytilineos (down 8.18 percent) and Marfin Popular Bank (6.41 percent). Losers outnumbered gainers, with 154 stock going down, 35 going up and 36 staying put. Kordellos Bros posted the biggest rise with 10 percent, while Edrasi C. Psallidas was the worst off with a drop of 14.29 percent. Turnover came to 85.7 million euros.