A fourth losing session; OPAP gains 2.49 pct

Shares extended their losing streak for the fourth session in a row but gaming operator OPAP outperformed after winning an appeal against its gaming systems provider Intralot. «We had some foreign funds taking profits today, especially in banking stocks, which have risen strongly since the start of the year on expected good 2003 results,» said analyst Andrew Alexiou at Beta Securities. The general share index retreated 1.20 percent to 2,392.88 points, while across Europe, blue chips were little changed. OPAP was the biggest blue-chip gainer, up 2.49 percent at 14.84 euros. Alpha Bank was another heavy loser, ending 4.88 percent down at 23.38 euros, despite a 63 percent jump in 2003 group net profit after minorities to 284.2 million euros, at the top end of analysts’ forecasts. «At the operating level, Alpha’s results were slightly below consensus, which weighed on the stock,» said analyst Costis Sinanidis at Egnatia Securities. Blue chips were off 1.99 percent, mid-caps 0.49 percent off and small-caps 0.42 percent softer. Turnover rose to 203.77 million euros, with 28.98 million shares changing hands. Losers beat winners 207 to 99. (Reuters)