Privatization failures drive market lower

Stocks eased yesterday, with investors disheartened by news of two failures in Greece’s privatization program and fears of a new offering of shares in Hellenic Petroleum keeping up the pressure on the company’s share price. Hellenic fell nearly 5 percent to 4.84 euros, while the Athens benchmark general index fell 0.62 percent to 1,667.19 points. Blue chips fell 0.46 percent to 828.17 points. «The Iraq issue, the failure of tenders for Olympic Air and Hellenic Petrol and the issue of irregularities in (small-cap) Connection and the fear of similar in other companies – this combination is weighing on an already negative climate in the market,» said Nikos Galoussis, head of derivatives at Kappa Securities. Mid-caps lost 0.69 percent and small-caps fell 1.12 percent. Turnover came to 64.72 million euros, with 20.7 million shares changing hands. Losers beat winners 248 to 70, with 34 shares unchanged on 352 traded. (Reuters)