Market drops, unmoved by capture of Saddam

Shares ended with slight losses yesterday, underperforming European bourses, with the benchmark index barely holding on to the 2,200 mark. «Today’s market was a surprise for us. We expected a positive session after the arrest of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. The market could not hold on to early gains,» said portfolio manager Costas Bouropoulos at Kyklos Securities. Traders said market rumors that a number of listed companies could be placed under supervision for trading violations weighed on sentiment. The stock exchange dismissed the rumors in a statement. The benchmark general share index closed 0.32 percent lower at 2,201.76 points. Mid-caps rose 0.11 percent, while small-caps and blue chips lost 1.51 percent and 0.43 percent, respectively. But across Europe, stocks hit new year-highs after Saddam’s arrest. Trading in mobile operator Panafon was heavy as minority shareholders continued to take advantage of a public buyout offer from British mobile group Vodafone. The stock held steady at 6.18 euros, the price offered by Vodafone. Turnover rose to 187.13 million shares, with 39.9 million shares changing hands. Decliners outweighed advancers 230 to 72, with 57 unchanged. (Reuters)