ECONOMY

Market rangebound as investors await election

Shares ended softer yesterday on lower trading volume, still rangebound between 2,400-2,500 points, with investors in a wait-and-see mode ahead of the March 7 national polls. «Uncertainty over the outcome of the upcoming general election is weighing on the market, with investors adopting a wait-and-see mode,» said analyst Paris Mantzavras at HSBC Pantelakis Securities. The benchmark general share index shed 0.40 percent to 2,437.29 points, tracking sentiment across Europe as shares slipped amid caution ahead of US payroll data yesterday. Retailer Germanos was among the blue chip gainers, adding 1.17 percent to 22.54 euros, a tad below its year-high of 23.02 euros, as investors cheered its long-term growth targets and expansion plans. National Bank nudged up 0.18 percent at 21.96 euros. Its chairman and chief executive, Theodoros Karatzas, died yesterday. Traders said the market had expected the chief executive would retire soon, with the news of his death having little impact on the stock. Blue chips and mid-caps fell 0.34 percent while small-caps settled 0.40 percent lower. Turnover fell to 129.21 million euros with 21.62 million shares changing hands. Decliners led advancers 192 to 100, with 61 unchanged. (Reuters)