OPAP, PPC shine, lift market slightly higher

Shares ended with small gains yesterday, with gaming operator OPAP outperforming after brokers raised their price targets on the stock following forecast-beating 2003 earnings on Tuesday. «With the exception of OPAP and the Public Power Corporation (PPC), the market fell today, tracking European bourses. Stocks are range-trading at the moment,» said Alexander Antzoulides, head of research at Aspis Bank’s brokerage. The benchmark general share index rose 0.10 percent to 2,418.87 points. OPAP shares were bolstered by price target upgrades from Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB) and UBS. The stock climbed 6.51 percent to 13.74 euros, adding to a 1.9 percent gain on Tuesday. CSFB yesterday raised its price target on OPAP shares to 16.50 from 13 euros with an «overweight» rating, while UBS increased its price target for the stock by 2 percent to 13.60 euros. Banks lost 0.27 percent, giving up some of the gains recorded since the start of the year. Blue chips rose 0.10 percent but mid-caps and small-caps lost 0.82 percent and 1.17 percent, respectively. Turnover eased to 147.30 million euros, with 28.32 million shares changing hands. Decliners outnumbered advancers 207 to 86, with 63 unchanged. (Reuters)