Stocks ended moderately lower at the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, significantly reducing initial heavy losses as the market found support in non-financials blue chip stocks and particularly OPAP. Bank shares remained under pressure to end sharply lower. The composite index of the market ended at 740.06 points, off 0.58 pct, after plunging 5.78 pct early in the session. A decision to place Proton Bank under the control of the Financial Stability Fund and growing speculation of a larger-than-expected haircut of the Greek debt, intensified pressure on bank stocks. However, a recovery in international markets helped the Greek market to a spectacular improvement late in the day. Turnover remained a low 48.936 million euros. The Big Cap index fell 1.87 pct, the Mid Cap index eased 1.43 pct and the Small Cap index dropped 3.22 pct. OPAP (8.24 pct), MIG (8.88 pct), Titan (4.65 pct) and Hellenic Petroleum (4.14 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Hellenic Postbank (18.69 pct), Piraeus Bank (16.84 pct) and Eurobank (14.63 pct) were top losers.

The Travel (7.88 pct) and Financial Services (4.29 pct) sectors scored gains, while Banks (10.41 pct), Insurance (6.38 pct) and Health (5.01 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.

Broadly, decliners led advancers by 99 to 38 with another 32 issues unchanged. CPI (30 pct), Xylemporia (30 pct) and Kepenos Mills (29.41 pct) were top gainers, while TBank (30 pct), Moda Bagno (29.96 pct), ATEbank (23 pct) were top losers.