Investors avoid rangebound market

Stocks eased yesterday as the prospect of a war with Iraq and looming fourth-quarter results later in the month kept investors on the sidelines. Turnover on the bourse slumped to a 52-week low, totaling 36.69 million euros, with 13.7 million shares changing hands. «The market is range-trading ahead of developments abroad, with investors taking a wait-and-see stance. The market is moving sideways, with investors trying to win time,» said head analyst Vassilis Vlastarakis at Contalexis Securities. The bourse’s benchmark general index closed at 1,672.58 points, off 0.10 percent. Hellenic Petroleum gained 3.31 percent to recapture the five-euro mark, after a slump to a 2003 low of 4.46 euros last week. Blue chips fell 0.33 percent to 830.03 points. Mid-caps eased 0.53 percent and small-caps lost 0.05 percent. Losers beat winners 170 to 121, with 67 shares unchanged on 358 traded. (Reuters)