ECONOMY

Index edges lower as OTE keeps falling

Equities edged lower yesterday, as investors went stock picking after the 2002 earnings period wound up last week, while OTE Telecom fell on news it may spend more on its Romanian expansion. OTE – which lost about 10 percent last week after an unexpected 2002 net profit drop – ended off another 1.58 percent at 9.94 euros. «There was a mixed market picture. In large-caps there was intense pressure in OTE… due to plans concerning its mobile telephony in Romania, and in banks,» said Nikos Gallousis, head of derivatives at Kappa Securities. Banks lost 1.07 percent, while the benchmark general index ended 0.13 percent lower at 1,611.97 points. Blue chips eased 0.50 percent to 787.74 points. Mid-caps eased 0.50 percent and small-caps dropped 0.87 percent. Turnover was 77.56 million euros, with 24 million shares changing hands. Losers beat winners 177 to 123, with 55 shares unchanged on 355 traded. (Reuters)