ECONOMY

The ASE eases 0.04 percent in year-end trading

Equities ended flat yesterday after drifting between negative and positive territory in colorless trade as seasonal factors capped trading volumes. «Investors seem more interested in just seeing the year out. Trading right now revolves around closing the books for 2001,» said Petros Tegopoulos, analyst at Axon Securities. The Athens benchmark general index eased 0.04 percent to 2,581.90 points after trading in a 24-point range. Brokers said they expected the market to maintain its narrow trading pattern on Friday, the last session of the year. «The market looks as if it wants to start next year from current levels between 2,550 and 2,580 points,» said Marinos Giourgas, broker at Market Securities. The blue chip index slipped 0.12 percent to 1,422.58 points. Mid-caps lost 0.24 percent and small-caps gained 0.16 percent. Telecoms firmed 0.19 percent. Index heavyweight OTE Telecom advanced 0.33 percent to 18.10 euros and its subsidiary, cellular operator CosmOTE, ended flat at 11.48 euros. Banks eased 0.10 percent and National Bank closed at 26.80 euros, off 0.07 percent. Turnover was 190.29 million euros. (Reuters) The OEEK plan emphasizes that Greece’s entry to the Economic and Monetary Union has heightened competitiveness in the environment in which Greek companies operate.