ASE interrupts 3-day rise for consolidation

Shares ended lower on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) yesterday, ending a three-day winning streak after nearing the 2,500-point resistance level, and underperforming European bourses which hit fresh highs on upbeat earnings. «The market is in a consolidation mood, with investors having largely discounted good corporate earnings,» said analyst Nikos Akitzidis at Axon Securities. The benchmark general share index fell 0.59 percent to 2,469.02 points. Mobile operator CosmOTE ended flat at 12.14 euros, off an intrasession high of 12.30 euros, after reporting a 10.7 percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit and a 10.4 percent increase in full-year net profit before the market’s open. «The market had already priced in CosmOTE’s 2003 earnings,» said analyst Anthony Kouleimanis at Devletoglou Securities. Weak market sentiment also weighed on ferry operator Attica Holdings, which fell 2.46 percent to 3.96 euros, despite posting a 317 percent jump in 2003 net profit to 28.3 million euros. Blue chips slipped 0.49 percent, mid-caps lost 1.28 percent with small-caps ending 1.45 percent lower. Turnover nudged up to 150.09 million euros, with 24.24 million shares changing hands. Losers led winners 242 to 61, with 54 unchanged. (Reuters)