ECONOMY

OTE Telecom helps give index vital lift

Gains in OTE Telecom led stocks away from year-lows yesterday as the heavyweight stock rode the wave of a rise in European peers. «Telecom stocks are the only sector attracting investor interest. OTE’s gains led the general index higher, with investors possibly cheered as OTE’s agreement with Romania nears,» said telecoms analyst Vassilis Kararizos at Marfin Hellenic Securities. According to Romanian officials last week, OTE and Romania will be able to sign shortly a $243 million deal for the former to raise its stake in Romtelecom, its biggest foreign investment, to a majority. OTE rose 1.5 percent to 10.80 euros. The Athens benchmark general index rose 0.27 percent to 1,672.14 points. Blue chips rose 0.15 percent to 821.03 points, while mid-caps lost 0.13 percent and small-caps gained 0.13 percent. Turnover was 75.14 million euros, with 16 million shares changing hands. Losers beat winners 156 to 127, with 70 shares unchanged on 353 traded. (Reuters)