ECONOMY

Market fails to hold on to early gains

Stocks finished lower yesterday as investors digested news of the government’s plans to sell more state assets, including its holdings in two state-controlled banks. The market surged at the beginning in line with the major European bourses but profit-taking in small-caps helped erase the gains. The benchmark general index ended 0.14 percent lower to close at 2,061.62 points. «In its desire to boost budget revenues, the government is speeding up the privatization of state-controlled companies and this is something which is considered risky,» said Grigoris Karayiannopoulos, general manager at Kypros Securities. «The listings should be more gradual,» he added. National and Emporiki banks fell 0.68 percent and 0.52 percent, respectively. Small-caps declined 1.95 percent. Decliners led advancers 237 to 91, with 40 unchanged. Turnover stood at 154.41 million euros, with 38.89 million shares changing hands. (Reuters)