ECONOMY

Blue chips stay afloat

The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) general index closed last week at 2,465.39 points, a gain of 0.12 percent on the previous week, with blue chips continuing to register gains, while small-caps lost ground. Weekly turnover fell from 809.51 million euros the previous week to 686.25 million – representing an average per session of 137.25 million euros. The blue chip FTSE/ASE-20 index advanced 0.69 percent to close at 1,289.64 points. This contrasted with sizeable losses on the FTSE/ASE-40 and FTSE/ASE-80 indices, which lost 3.86 percent and 3.30 percent, respectively. Sectoral indices gave a mixed picture but most ended lower. Telecommunications companies outperformed, surging 3.66 percent, retail firms rose 1.55 percent and banks gained 0.37 percent. The biggest losers were firms in the IT equipment-solutions and basic metals indices, which ended 4.80 percent and 4.39 percent lower. Among individual stocks, the biggest gains were registered by Axon Holdings (20.85 percent) and Ergas (16.98 percent). The top losers were European Technical (-39.02 percent) and Allatini (-36.48 percent). The week’s most marketable securities were OTE Telecom, with an average daily turnover of 14.51 million euros, betting systems firm OPAP (9.41 million), and mobile phone operator CosmOTE (8.28 million), which reported improved profitability for 2003. Several large-caps are scheduled to announce 2003 results this week: Alpha Bank, Bank of Cyprus and Germanos on Wednesday, OTE and Eurobank on Thursday.