The Athens Stock Exchange yesterday slammed reports that blamed the market’s unexpectedly sharp falls in the last four days on short selling and buying on margin after the benchmark index dropped to a new low for the year. The ASE general share index plunged by 2.38 percent to close at 1,771.78 points yesterday, the fourth consecutive decline, while blue chips lost out even more, with the FTSE ASE-20 index off 2.96 percent to close at 884.98 points. While noting that investors around the world were being shaken by a succession of negative developments, local investors were also agitated by untrue reports and allegations, the ASE said. «Reports or announcements based on insufficient and dubious data do not contribute to the market’s smooth functioning and only aggravate the situation,» it said in a statement. The ASE said chief among these were reports that pointed to a sharp increase in short selling in the domestic market. It said this was «totally untrue» as only 2.1 million shares over the previous six months had been involved. ASE said it was normal that the daily average turnover on futures exceeded that of equities by a large margin. It said other European markets had reported the same trend. Referring to reports that derivatives exchange clearinghouse ADECH has not retained the minimum 10 percent of certain equities as required by law, it said the allegations were not true. The ASE said both buying on margin and short selling are investment tools that are common to modern markets. It said investors could check on transactions via the market’s daily price list. The stock exchange in turn has a division that keep tabs on transactions. The ASE urged investors to keep their composure.