ECONOMY

Slight drop as Athens follows Euro markets

Shares ended slightly lower yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), echoing the cautious mood across Europe, while Piraeus Bank was among the gainers in its sector on hopes of strong quarterly earnings. «The market was affected by the wait-and-see mood in European bourses ahead of the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting,» said analyst Manos Mavrogenis at Laiki-Attalos Securities. The general share index shed 0.19 percent to 2,540.06 points. Across Europe stocks were mixed in midsession trade, with worries about rising US interest rates offsetting firm oil stocks. Piraeus Bank, which beat market expectations with a 36.7 percent jump in first-quarter group net profit after minorities, rose 0.40 percent to 9.94 euros. It was the third bank in a row to beat consensus after Alpha and National. Profit-taking weighed on National Bank, which slid 0.24 percent to 25.42 euros, down from a 29-month closing high set on Monday. Mobile operator CosmOTE shed 1.77 percent to 13.34 euros after climbing close to a year-high on Monday. Blue chips edged up 0.11 percent, but mid-caps and small-caps dropped 1.26 and 0.88 percent respectively. Turnover fell to 125.03 million euros, with 19.8 million shares changing hands. Losers outnumbered winners 220 to 83. (Reuters)