ECONOMY

News of early elections makes investors happy

The bourse bounced up almost 2 percent yesterday, as the announcement after weeks of uncertainty over the issue of earlier-than-expected elections reassured investors into taking the index to a 19-month high. Prime Minister Costas Simitis’s pledge to step down right after the elections also raised hopes that the vote would bring about a change in economic policies even should the ruling Socialist party manage to stay in power. The bourse index closed 1.92 percent higher at 2,391.35 points, bucking negative European trends that saw key markets dragged down by weak oil and utility stocks. «There was some speculation about the date of the elections; setting the date lifted that uncertainty and definitely helped the psychology of the market,» said analyst Antonis Kouleimanis of Devletoglou Securities. The rally especially benefited shares in Greek telecoms operator OTE and its mobile arm CosmOTE, as investors bet that OTE’s restructuring will pick up pace this year. OTE closed 4.55 percent up at a 14-month high of 11.96 euros, while CosmOTE jumped 6.17 percent to 11.70 euros, its highest since January 2002. Turnover rose to 309.98 million euros, with 53.3 million shares changing hands. Advancers led decliners 204 to 118, with 44 unchanged. (Reuters)