ECONOMY

Blue chips not enough to keep index up

Equities ended marginally off yesterday as mild profit-taking chipped away at recent market gains. The Athens bourse benchmark general index ended at 1,776.16 points, off 0.05 percent, after gaining 1.64 percent on Thursday. «The market returned to its expected performance after yesterday’s gains. With a likely attack on Iraq, I don’t think we can see a sustainable climb,» said Grigoris Karayiannopoulos, analyst at Cyprus Securities. Blue chips outperformed, rising 0.35 percent, but mid-caps shed 0.98 percent while small-caps dropped 2.23 percent. «There is increased volatility in small- and mid-caps and this is largely due to the lack of depth,» said Karayiannopoulos. Turnover was 54.45 million euros with 16.9 million shares changing hands. Losers beat winners 254 to 58 with 39 shares unchanged on 351 traded. The Athens bourse will be closed on Monday for the Epiphany holiday. Trade resumes again on Tuesday. (Reuters)