ECONOMY

European downtrend sends index tumbling

Shares fell to a four-and-a-half week closing low yesterday, tracking the downtrend across Europe. Index heavyweight OTE was the biggest blue chip loser on fears of declining profit due to rate cuts. «We see the next support level at 2,300 points. Forecast-beating first-quarter results from Emporiki Bank and CosmOTE this week could help stocks recover,» said analyst Manos Hadjidakis at Magna Trust. The general share index ended 2.63 percent lower at 2,421.08 points, its lowest closing level since April 7. OTE shed 4.41 percent to 11.28 euros, its weakest close since April 2, after it warned profits could be hit by cuts in wholesale interconnection and leased line rates, ordered by the telecoms regulator. It has filed a court appeal. «We estimate the cuts will have about 30 million euros in negative impact in first-quarter revenues and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, and about 19 million euros in net income,» P&K Securities wrote in a note. Blue chips lost 2.86 percent, mid-caps were down 1.64 percent, while small-caps fell 2.08 percent. Turnover rose to 139.34 million euros, with 17.4 million shares changing hands. Decliners led advancers 281 to 35. (Reuters)