ASE retains 1,900 pts despite profit-taking

Stocks eased yesterday in thin trade but stronger telecom shares helped trim losses and keep the benchmark general index above the 1,900 mark. Telecom stocks rose 0.77 percent, in line with European peers, while a 1.77 percent fall in banks kept the benchmark general index in the red, off 0.31 percent. The index closed at 1,905.83 points, five points lower on the week. «We have some restraint in the market as investors gauge whether the index can move higher than current levels,» said analyst Takis Zamanis at Beta Securities. Soccer pool and lottery group OPAP gained 1.1 percent to 9.22 euros, shrugging off news on Thursday that Greece’s sale of up to 24.6 percent of the company was nearing. Blue chips fell 0.67 percent to 951.85 points, while mid-caps lost 0.77 percent and small-caps fell 1.66 percent. Turnover fell to 141.73 million euros, from Thursday’s 213.53 million euros, with 34.7 million shares changing hands. Losers beat winners 246 to 73, with 38 shares unchanged on 357 traded. (Reuters)