ECONOMY

Investors go after stocks with high dividend yield

Shares ended softer yesterday, out of kilter with rising European markets, while bellwether National Bank rallied on what traders said were hopes for a bonus share issue. «In recent days, investors have been selectively buying stocks with attractive dividend yields but have stayed cautious on shares with low dividends,» said analyst Costas Vergos at Pentedekas Securities. «We have a bearish market which could continue in the short term,» he added. The general share index fell 0.21 percent to 2,370.65 points. It ended the first quarter 4.7 percent higher. National Bank hit a 20-day closing high, ending with gains of 3.44 percent to 21.66 euros. National plans to pay a dividend per share of 0.65 euros – yielding 3.0 percent based on yesterday’s closing price. Oil refiner Hellenic Petroleum, which earlier received shareholder approval for a 0.20 euro per share dividend for 2003, rose 1.97 percent to 7.24 euros, making for a dividend yield of 2.76 percent. Blue chips fell 0.22 percent, mid-caps were virtually flat while small-caps lost 0.39 percent. Turnover nudged up to 130.77 million euros, with 25.35 million shares changing hands. Decliners led advancers 172 to 126. (Reuters)