ECONOMY

Blue chips drag index down to 23-day low

Shares ended down slightly yesterday, out of kilter with an uptrend across Europe. The market was dragged down by index heavyweight OTE, which traded ex-dividend, while expiring stock and index options also weighed. «There is no clear trend in the market, this could persist for the next few weeks,» said analyst Anthony Kouleimanis at Devletoglou Securities. The general share index shed 15.74 points, or 0.66 percent, to 2,360.34 points, a 23-day closing low, underperforming European markets which edged upward, boosted by oil majors as US crude prices hit 10-day highs. OTE shed 1.72 percent to 10.30 euros as the stock went ex-dividend, meaning buyers no longer qualify for the latest payout. The operator will pay a 2003 dividend per share of 0.35 euros, making for a 2003 dividend yield of 3.34 percent based on Thursday’s closing price. Power utility PPC extended a four-day losing streak, losing 1.96 percent to 19.0 euros. Traders said the government’s proposal early this week that tariffs increase only marginally still weighed. Blue chips lost 0.96 percent but mid-caps and small-caps added 0.43 percent and 1.06 percent respectively. Turnover edged up to 108.72 million euros, with 21.36 million shares changing hands. Winners outnumbered losers 158 to 119. (Reuters)