ECONOMY

A weak OTE Telecom cancels out buoyant banks

Losses in index heavyweight OTE Telecom outweighed firm banks yesterday, dragging Greek equities 0.04 percent lower against a backdrop of weak European markets. We are outperforming European bourses and local investor sentiment looks to be better than in the previous months, but the main signals continue to come from Europe, said Costas Theodoropoulos, fund manager at Allianz. The benchmark general index ended at 2,699.07 points. Blue chips firmed 0.27 percent to 1,477.95 points and mid-caps on the FTSE/ASE-40 index eased 0.16 percent. Small-caps lost 0.36 percent. OTE Telecom lost 2.48 percent to 18.9 euros after dropping more than 2 percent on Tuesday. OTE is due to report nine-month results today and most analysts expect net profits to drop some 7 percent over the same period in 2000. Telecoms shed 1.39 percent. Banks firmed 0.89 percent. Speculation that more mergers are in the offing in the banking sector, sparked by the recent National-Alpha team-up, helped support gains in the sector. Turnover was 168.80 million euros. (Reuters) 570 powerful quakes