ECONOMY

Consolidating market ends 0.22 percent lower

With the exception of banks, shares ended slightly softer yesterday with investors digesting corporate earnings after the reporting season came to a close on Sunday. The general share index ended 0.22 percent lower at 2,446.16 points, underperforming European shares that flirted with 19-month highs on good news from the mining and chemical sectors. «The market is digesting 2003 results and we’re seeing some portfolio restructuring,» said analyst Thanos Ipirotis at Alpha Finance. «The consolidation phase is likely to carry on for another two to three sessions.» Intracom was the blue chip loser of the day with a 3.11 percent drop to 4.98 euros after posting a 47 percent fall in 2003 pretax profit, in «the biggest negative surprise among the FTSE-20 index constituents,» according to analysts. Mobile operator CosmOTE also closed weaker, down 1.67 percent to 12.94 euros, after gains of more than 5 percent on Friday. Banks closed with small gains. Alpha Bank advanced 0.74 percent to 24.56 euros with subsidiary Alpha Leasing jumping 12.9 percent to 6.46 euros. Turnover reached 154.24 million euros, with 31 million shares changing hands. Advancers trailed decliners 144 to 160, with 53 unchanged. (Reuters)