ECONOMY

Cyprus talks impasse weighs on ASE investors

Shares ended lower yesterday, despite gains in index heavyweight banks, while the outcome of Cypriot reunification talks and macroeconomic concerns weighed. «News on the Cyprus issue failed to deliver a boost to the market. There’s no direction. Investors are waiting for corporate news flow and first-quarter earnings and a clearer picture on macroeconomic data, like the budget deficit,» said an analyst. The general share index closed 0.46 percent lower, at 2,359.64 points, in contrast with Turkish equities, which gained 0.65 percent as investors hailed the Cyprus plan designed to end decades of division on the island. OTE was the biggest blue chip loser, shedding 2.96 percent to 11.14 euros, a 13-week closing low. Traders said renewed speculation about a management change and an uncertain outlook were driving the stock down. Selling pressure also extended to OTE’s mobile arm CosmOTE which lost 2.36 percent to 12.40 euros. EFG Eurobank gained 2.18 percent to 16.90 euros, outperforming a 1.42 percent advance in the banking index. Blue chips were virtually flat but mid-caps retreated 0.41 percent and small-caps fell 0.73 percent. Turnover fell to 108.66 million euros, with 16.78 million shares changing hands. Losers outnumbered winners 182 to 101. (Reuters)