Market interrupts rally as investors cash in

Shares eased slightly on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday as investors booked gains from an eight-day rally, with the benchmark share index managing to hold above the 2,400-point mark a day after breaching the level. «It’s a correction. I believe it’s a good opportunity for investors sitting on the sidelines to enter the market gradually,» said Deputy General Manager Petros Karabokis at HSBC (Hellas) Mutual Fund Management Company. «We’re positive on the market this year in view of new money coming from foreign and domestic investors, the upcoming general elections and the 2004 Olympic Games,» he added. The benchmark general share index ended 0.35 percent off at 2,403.34 points, tracking European markets, which headed south after weak US jobs data raised doubts about the ability of the economic recovery to create jobs. OTE Telecom ended a seven-day winning streak, shedding 2.12 percent to 11.98 euros. The stock has outperformed since the start of the year, with gains of 14.3 percent against a 6.1 percent rise in the Athens general share index. General Bank was another gainer, rising 0.96 percent to 6.34 euros. Turnover fell to 200.47 million euros, with 33.1 million shares changing hands. Losers outnumbered winners 259 to 66, with 34 unchanged. (Reuters)

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