CCHBC’s capital return dominates dull session

Stocks ended slightly lower yesterday on weak volumes, with the market focusing on Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling’s share capital return and select blue chips that posted good nine-month results, traders said. The benchmark general share index ended 0.28 percent lower at 2,163.93 points. «The market was without much excitement overall, it had no strength to follow the rise in Europe,» a trader said. «The whole story today was Coca-Cola HBC’s 2.0-euro capital return. In essence, the share went up, as it should have closed at 16.26 euros after the dividend was taken out. People holding the share got the dividend, and also a little top-up.» Coca-Cola HBC closed 8.76 percent down at 16.66 euros. Hellenic Petroleum was the blue-chip winner of the day, closing 3.24 percent up at 7.04 euros after it announced it was taking part in a $100-million exploration and production-sharing agreement with the Libyan National Oil Corporation. The 30-year agreement covers six onshore exploration blocks in northern and western Libya. Hellenic will have a 20 percent stake in the project, with Australia’s Woodside Petroleum Ltd 45 percent and Spain’s Repsol at 35 percent. Turnover fell to 103.77 million euros, with 17.9 million shares changing hands. Decliners trailed advancers 131 to 158, with 69 closing unchanged. (Reuters)