Index slightly up, but no firm direction seen

Shares ended with small gains yesterday, and sentiment is fragile as investors await 2003 earnings reports and general elections on March 7. «The market is looking for direction and the upcoming general elections will play a key role in this. I don’t expect any major movement as the market tries to interpret the various polls that come out,» said analyst Nikos Keranis at Pegasus Securities. The general share index rose 0.10 percent to 2,435.11 points, tracking European markets, which picked up from two-week lows. Gaming group OPAP, due to report full-year and fourth-quarter results today before the market opens, traded 1.40 percent down at 12.66 euros. Hotel operator Hyatt Regency gained 1.81 percent to 8.98 euros, erasing some of Friday’s losses triggered by news that an Athens prosecutor had initiated a probe into a 2002 sale of a stake in Mont Parnes Casino to a consortium of Hyatt and Hellenic Technodomiki. Construction firm Hellenic ended 3.43 percent softer, at 4.50 euros. Blue chips and small-caps added 0.29 percent and 0.35 percent respectively but mid-caps retreated 0.48 percent. Turnover fell to 140.53 million euros, with 27.26 million shares changing hands. Decliners outnumbered advancers 157 to 139, with 58 unchanged. (Reuters)