ECONOMY

Profit-taking in OTE and banks halts market rally

Shares headed south yesterday as investors took profits after a new year rally, with index heavyweight OTE and banks leading the decline and mid-caps bucking the trend. «The wave of profit-taking today after the recent rally was logical, as we have not seen any significant correction in the market up to now,» said analyst Yiannis Karyotis at Eurocorp Securities. The general share index ended 1.02 percent lower at 2,469.34 points, underperforming European bourses, which scaled fresh 16-month highs on rising oil and technology stocks. OTE retreated 3.90 percent to 11.82 euros, its lowest close in two weeks. It was the most heavily traded stock in volume and turnover. The stock has gained 12 percent since the start of the year, outperforming the broader market on hopes its restructuring will pick up pace this year. Traders said OTE could continue to face pressure in the short term. Blue chips lost 1.80 percent, while mid-caps and small-caps bucked the trend, ending 0.66 percent and 0.53 percent higher. Turnover rose to 236.95 million euros, with 43.5 million shares changing hands. Advancers led decliners 180 to 129, with 52 unchanged. (Reuters)