ECONOMY

Prospect of war keeps investors away

Shares dropped yesterday as investors opted for a few defensive stocks, such as utility PPC, worried about the effect a war in Iraq will have on the global economy. The Athens benchmark general index fell 1.68 percent to 1,488.49 points. Banks lost 2.54 percent, with telecoms trimming earlier losses to end 1.65 percent down in lackluster trade. «Jitters about what’s happening with Iraq just overshadow everything. There’s indifference from buyers and an excess of sellers,» said analyst Elias Lazaris at Artion Securities. National, the country’s largest bank, lost 3.45 percent to 9.52 euros, closing at a new 52-week low. It said it would cut loan and deposit rates after the European Central Bank’s recent quarter-point rate cut as of yesterday, the first major Greek bank to respond to the ECB’s move. Turnover was 46.54 million euros on 14.7 million shares changing hands. Losers beat winners 296 to 37 with 26 shares unchanged on 359 traded. (Reuters)