ECONOMY

Telecoms help index stay above 1,800 pts

Cellphone operator Vodafone Panafon raced ahead in thin trade on the Athens bourse yesterday on hopes the company will match peers and surprise with good first-half results today. Panafon absorbed early profit-taking to end with gains of 2.68 percent, while the Athens bourse benchmark general index eased 0.08 percent to 1,816.20 points, after dropping as low as 1,799.13 points earlier. «The market showed today it is trying to establish the 1,800-point mark as a support level,» said one analyst. OTE Telecom gained 0.2 percent – outperforming its European peers, which were off 1.28 percent – putting the brake on a 10 percent slide over the past week on concerns about its Romanian investment and weak nine-month results. Banks eased 0.33 percent, with National off 0.28 percent to 14.10 euros, while blue chips shed 0.18 percent to 886.66 points. Turnover was 68.07 million euros, down from 90.45 million euros a day earlier, on 15.8 million shares traded. Losers beat winners 207 to 98, with 51 shares unchanged on 356 traded. (Reuters)