Shares lose some ground while ELPE stands out

Shares ended with small losses yesterday, underperforming European markets, while oil refiner Hellenic Petroleum, or ELPE, was a standout as investors cheered prospects of a new chief executive. The general share index closed 0.18 percent lower at 2,339.41 points. «The Greek market has not been taking direction from European markets lately, the course is determined by domestic factors,» said Costas Asimakopoulos, an analyst at Prelium Securities. «The problem is the lack of news flow and buying interest,» he added. Hellenic Petroleum was the biggest blue chip gainer, adding 4.98 percent to 6.74 euros, its highest closing level in over a month. «The market is reacting positively to the prospects of (Panayiotis) Kavoulakos as chief executive. His being younger than the current CEO is seen as an asset,» said an analyst. The posts of chairman and chief executive are now jointly held by Timos Christodoulou, 72, who was appointed in March. He has said he would look for someone to take over the CEO post. Blue chips fell 0.15 percent, mid-caps retreated 0.63 percent, and small-caps lost 1.33 percent. Turnover rose to 117 million euros, with 25.2 million shares changing hands. Losers outnumbered winners 232 to 65, with 56 shares remaining unchanged. (Reuters)