War worries affect bourse performance

Late-session weakness in OTE Telecom reversed early gains on the Athens bourse yesterday, as investors locked in profits in the index heavyweight amid continued uncertainty about an Iraq war. OTE, which was upgraded to «buy» from «add» by HSBC earlier, fell 1.23 percent to 11.20 euros after peaking at 11.50 euros in intrasession trading. The Athens benchmark general index lost 1.31 percent to 1,669.97 points as banks tumbled 1.93 percent. «If OTE hadn’t held up, the market would have gone much lower. Concerns about Iraq are hurting, but delays in the Iraq issue will also have a bad effect, increasing volatility,» said analyst Grigoris Karayiannopoulos at Cyprus Securities. Blue chips lost 1.47 percent to 826.05 points. Mid-caps lost 1.08 percent and small-caps 1.76 percent. Turnover was unchanged from the previous day – at 64 million euros with 16.8 million shares changing hands. Losers beat winners 259 to 41, with 53 shares unchanged on 353 traded. (Reuters)

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