ASE follows Europeans lower; OTE outperforms

Shares ended with losses of more than 1 percent on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) yesterday, hit by negative sentiment across Europe, but telecoms operator OTE outperformed as investors cheered the appointment of a new chief executive. «The market was down today on falling European markets and profit-taking, while OTE’s rise helped contain the losses,» said analyst Manos Hadjidakis at Magna Trust. «Based on the low trading volume, investors appeared to be in a wait-and-see mode ahead of international developments.» The general share index closed 1.41 percent lower at 2,440.64 points. OTE rose 1.20 percent to 11.84 euros, its highest close since March 19, after the government put forward a former banker and chairman of a fridge manufacturer as its choice for chief executive. The appointment of Panagis Vourloumis is part of the newly elected conservative government’s post-election reshuffle. Current CEO Lefteris Antonakopoulos was appointed by the previous Socialist government. Analysts said Vourloumis’s biggest challenge will be to speed up restructuring efforts at the telecoms operator, which the current management has long struggled with. Blue chips closed 1.43 percent down, mid-caps fell 1.28 percent and small-caps were off 1.64 percent. (Reuters)

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