Hellenic Petroleum drags market down

Equities hit a fresh year-low yesterday, underperforming major European bourses as blue chip Hellenic Petroleum continued to bleed after the government failed to cut its stake in the state-owned refiner. Hellenic Petroleum, which lost nearly 5 percent on Tuesday, lost 2.89 percent to 4.70 euros, as investors fear the government may float more shares in the company on the market in a bid to cut its 60 percent holding in the refinery. «I don’t think the stock will fall much further as it is undervalued,» said Grigoris Karayiannopoulos, analyst at Cyprus Securities. The benchmark general index dropped 0.59 percent to 1,657.43 points. Blue chips shed 0.47 percent to 824.24 points; mid-caps lost 1.0 percent and small-caps fell 1.72 percent. Turnover was 69.71 million euros, with 25.3 million shares changing hands. Losers beat winners 263 to 51, with 40 shares unchanged on 354 traded. (Reuters)