Investors stay on the sidelines, stocks drop

Shares extended losses for the third straight session on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) yesterday, unable to hold on to early gains, as the absence of key corporate and macroeconomic news kept investors on the sidelines. «We had foreign investors booking short-term gains today after the market’s recent advance, but the lack of news flow also took its toll,» said analyst Costas Vergos at Pentedekas Securities. He sees the next support level at 2,380 points. The general share index closed 0.21 percent down at 2,406.52 points. Mobile operator CosmOTE was the biggest blue chip decliner, shedding 3.73 percent to 12.92 euros as the stock traded ex-dividend, meaning buyers no longer qualify for the latest payout. Parent OTE was a bright spot, advancing 1.33 percent to 10.66 euros, with sentiment remaining on the upside after a management change in early May. Ferry operator Strintzis ended 1.94 percent up, after losses of more than 5 percent in early trade on news its CEO had resigned unexpectedly for personal reasons. Blue chips fell 0.10 percent, mid-caps were virtually flat while small-caps lost 0.43 percent. Turnover rose to 121.19 million euros, with 19.1 million shares changing hands. Losers outnumbered winners 176 to 113. (Reuters)