OPAP, PPC help ASE cling to slight gain

Shares ended slightly positive on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) yesterday, escaping European gloom as OPAP’s shares climbed on government statements its monopoly position would be protected. The general share index closed 0.25 percent higher at 2,343.55 points. Gaming group OPAP was the star of the session, with shares closing 3.25 percent up after Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis said Greece is determined to protect OPAP’s monopoly status, easing fears the market might be opened up sooner than expected. OPAP shares closed at 15.26 euros, having reached a day’s high of 15.34 euros. The statements by Alogoskoufis were a follow-up to statements over the weekend that the State, which has a 51.15 percent stake in OPAP, must «move fast» to deal with a potential loss of OPAP’s monopoly as a result of the e-gaming boom. The other blue chip to lift the index was power utility Public Power Corporation (PPC), which closed 2.93 percent up at 19.70 euros, on what some traders said was an expected rebound after last week’s losing streak. Blue chips rose 0.29 percent, mid-caps retreated 0.50 percent, while small-caps lost 0.61 percent. Turnover rose slightly to 108.34 million euros, with 17.8 million shares changing hands. Losers outnumbered winners 200 to 95. (Reuters)