Hellenic Petroleum spooks the market

Hellenic Petroleum dropped more than 4 percent yesterday on fears a long-awaited sale of 23 percent of the refiner would founder, casting a pall over the broader market. Gains in OTE Telecom helped trim losses after it said it planned to slash jobs at Romtelecom. Hellenic Petroleum lost 4.15 percent to 5.08 euros, while the Athens benchmark general index eased 0.36 percent to 1,677.52 points. OTE gained 1.24 percent to 11.40 euros. «The more drastic the measures for Romtelecom, the better the market will react,» said analyst Stavros Christodoulou at Guardian Trust Securities. Blue chips fell 0.41 percent to 831.98 points. Mid-caps lost 0.68 percent and small-caps slipped 0.98 percent. Turnover slumped to 56.09 million euros from 75.52 million euros on Friday, with 16.6 million shares changing hands. Losers beat winners 209 to 88 with 54 shares unchanged on 351 traded. (Reuters)