Election jitters hurt blue chips, despite ’03 results

Blue chips dropped yesterday, led by index heavyweight banks and telecoms shares, as weak European markets and jitters ahead of the March 7 general elections weighed on sentiment. Smaller companies, however, remained buoyant. «The losses in European bourses affected the market, with the majority of blue chips retreating while the pre-election uncertainties also weighed on sentiment,» said Nikos Galousis, head of derivatives at Kappa Securities. The general share index shed 1.76 percent to 2,422.01 points, with banks and telecoms among the biggest losers. Across Europe, insurance companies led markets lower. OTE Telecom, which reports 2003 financial results tomorrow, lost 3.61 percent to 12.28 euros. Analysts in a Reuters poll expect full-year net profit up 30 percent at 450.6 million euros. Commercial Bank lost 3.58 percent to settle at 21.52 euros. It reported a 37.4 percent rise in group net profit after minorities to 71.8 million euros, in line with consensus. Germanos added 1.24 percent to 22.80 euros after UBS upgraded its price target for the stock to 29 from 23 euros previously, citing the company’s growth potential. Turnover rose to 171.47 million euros, with 29.17 million shares changing hands. Advancers led decliners 301 to 23. (Reuters)