Stocks slide as investors choose to wait and see

Shares fell for the second straight session yesterday on thin trading volume with Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling (CCHBC) ending softer despite reporting strong nine-month earnings. The benchmark general share index shed 0.91 percent to close 2,173.19 points. «Nine-month results cheered investors. However, investors do not appear to have the appetite to take on bigger risks with institutionals in a wait-and-see mode,» said analyst Angelos Spyropoulos at Alico Asset Management. CCHBC eased 0.68 percent to 17.46 euros, despite posting a 62 percent rise in nine-month net profit before the market open. Third-quarter net income was 84 million, up 29 percent from 2002. The bottler revised upward its full-year net profit forecast. Traders said investors had already priced in the good news and were offloading the stock today for quick gains. Alpha Bank ended 0.79 percent higher at 20.48 euros after hitting a new year high of 20.54 intrasession after UBS raised its price target to 25 from 21 euros while maintaining a «Buy 1» rating. But other banks fell. Bellwether National Bank lost 1.38 percent to 18.60 euros, with Commercial Bank closing down 1.76 percent at 18.96 euros. Turnover rose to 102.50 million euros, with 25 million shares changing hands. Losers outnumbered gainers 276 to 50, with 41 stocks closing unchanged. (Reuters)