ASE drops below 2,200 in profit-taking moves

Shares lost more than 1 percent yesterday, underperforming weak European bourses, with traders citing lackluster institutional trading and profit-taking in major stocks ahead of the end of the year. «The market couldn’t hold on to positive terrain, taking its cue from a weak Europe. Investors locked in short-term profits in large-caps,» said analyst Christos Samothrakis at Market Securities. The benchmark general share index closed 1.03 percent lower at 2,179.12 points, while blue chips slid almost 1 percent. Index heavyweight OTE Telecom and lottery operator OPAP were among the top blue chip decliners, the former losing 2.1 and the latter, 2.21 percent. «Both these shares had outperformed the market, so international institutional investors cashed in to book some profits,» a broker said. Traders added that OTE was influenced by press reports that telecoms regulator EETT would ask the telecom group to modify its wholesale rates and reduce the discounts it plans to offer to large corporate clients. Turnover reached 183.8 million euros, with 38 million shares changing hands. Decliners outnumbered advancers 292 to 29, with 36 unchanged. (Reuters)