Telecoms continue rally but strength doubtful

Shares extended gains yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) on buoyant telecoms stocks as investors rebalanced their portfolios ahead of a planned Panafon delisting, with analysts saying the upward momentum could lose steam. «The market is nearing its peak, fundamentals look okay but I’m not sure how long the rally will last. I’m cautious,» said analyst Nikos Keranis at Pegasus Securities. The benchmark general share index advanced 0.79 percent to 2,197.74 points, tracking European markets, which nudged toward their best levels for 2003 led by rallying auto, mining and technology stocks. Index heavyweight OTE gained 3.09 percent to 10.68 euros while its mobile subsidiary CosmOTE added 0.37 percent to 10.78 euros. The stocks climbed after Britain’s Vodafone launched a public offer to mop up the remaining 25.2 percent of Panafon it does not own. «Liquidity is switching from Panafon to OTE, CosmOTE and Intracom,» said Keranis. OTE also received a boost from Morgan Stanley which raised its price target for the shares to 12 from 11.8 euros. Turnover rose to 251.07 million euros with 42 million shares changing hands. Advancers outnumbered decliners 202 to 97, with 60 ending unchanged. (Reuters)