ECONOMY

Stocks end flat on luckluster blue chips

Stocks ended flat yesterday, as the announcement of first-half results for several blue chips failed to lift the market. The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) rose by as much as 1.61 percent during the session but closed at 2.256.03 points, just 0.06 points lower than Wednesday. Heavyweight OTE Telecom ended just 0.18 percent lower at 11.32 euros, after reporting profits lower but above market expectations. The blue chip FTSE/ASE-20 index shed 0.03 percent to close at 1,140.45 points; mid-caps declined 0.83 percent and small-caps 0.97 percent. Only three sectoral indices gained: printing and publishing 0.97 percent, retail commerce 0.78 percent and refineries 0.59 percent. Banks were 0.83 percent lower and telecoms lost 0.09 percent. Mobile operator Vodafone-Panafon gained 2.05 percent after announcing a 19 percent rise in first-quarter pretax earnings for fiscal year 2003-2004. Turnover rose to 191.4 million euros. Decliners led advancers 240 to 82, with 47 unchanged.