ECONOMY

Index drops to 3-month low amid thin trade

Shares fell to a three-month low yesterday, echoing weak sentiments across Europe, with construction firm Hellenic Technodomiki the biggest blue chip decliner as it went ex-dividend. «Stocks trading ex-dividend provided the catalyst for today’s drop. The fact that the fall exceeded the dividend yield is yet another sign of a weak market,» said analyst Christos Samothrakis at Market Securities. The general share index closed 1.11 percent lower at 2,313.50 points, a level last seen on March 24, while the loss over the week stood at 2 percent. «The market is trading on the dividend story due to the lack of market-moving news. The low trading volume does not support an uptrend,» said Samothrakis. Hellenic Technodomiki shed 7.14 percent to 3.64 euros, a new year-to-date low. The stock traded ex-dividend yesterday, with the 2003 dividend per share at 0.26 euros, making for a dividend yield of 6.6 percent. Alpha Bank fell 2.49 percent to 19.56 euros, within a whisker of a year low of 19.42 euros set on February 26. Blue chips lost 1.21 percent, mid-caps retreated 1.53 percent and small-caps fell 1.86 percent. Turnover fell to 127.86 million euros, with 22.7 million shares changing hands. Losers outnumbered winners 250 to 57. (Reuters)