Big OTE write-down weighs upon stocks

Equities eased 0.23 percent yesterday as the market chewed on more 2002 earnings and index heavyweight OTE Telecom took heavy losses after its net profit fell short of market expectations. OTE, which booked a higher-than-anticipated write-down of its foreign investments in 2002, ended off 3.51 percent at 10.46 euros. The general index ended 0.23 percent lower at 1,613.58 points. Banks firmed 0.43 percent, reversing direction after recent heavy losses sparked by weak earnings by some of the sector’s larger players last week, who also slashed 2002 dividends. Blue chips slipped 0.45 percent, while mid-caps eased 0.31 percent. Small-caps firmed 0.54 percent. Power utility Public Power Corporation (PPC), which added 2.33 percent to 14.08 euros, was among the few companies to please with its earnings. Turnover was 94.21 million euros, with 21.7 million shares changing hands. Winners beat losers 169 to 107, with 78 shares unchanged on 354 traded. (Reuters)