ECONOMY

Directionless market slips to a new low

Equities trimmed losses yesterday but the index still closed at its lowest point this year. Concerns about the economic effect of a war with Iraq have pushed investors toward defensive stocks, with Public Power Corporation gaining 0.14 percent to 13.90 euros. The Athens benchmark general index ended 0.26 percent down at 1,665.66 points, two points below its previous closing low of 1,667.67 points, but off an intrasession plunge to 1,646.83 points. «The market continues to move without a clear direction… Investors are reacting defensively and the climate is subdued,» said analyst Christos Skroumas at Merit Securities. Blue chips slipped 0.29 percent to 823.68 points, with telecom stocks falling 0.89 percent, but banks advanced 0.11 percent. Mid-caps lost 0.25 percent and small-caps gained 0.42 percent. Turnover was 64.72 million euros, with 17.5 million shares changing hands. Decliners led advancers 147 to 145 with 64 shares unchanged on 356 traded. (Reuters)