ECONOMY

Index down 0.80 percent as holiday approaches

Equities ended a lackluster week lower yesterday, with the Athens benchmark general index losing 0.80 percent to 2,564.21 points as brokerages wound up accounts and pre-holiday apathy set in. On the week, the general index lost just 7.5 points, or 0.29 percent. I think there was some pressure today due to purely technical reasons because of brokerages closing negative cash balances in investor accounts as the end of the year approaches, said analyst Elias Lazaris at Artion Securities. The Athens bourse has just another three sessions to go before the end of the year. It will be open for trade on December 24, 27 and 28, and reopening for 2002 on January 2. Blue chips lost 0.70 percent to 1,414.95 points with telecom stocks sliding 1.64 percent as heavyweight OTE Telecom fell 1.98 percent to 17.78 euros. Banks shed 0.54 percent. Mid-caps shed 0.86 percent and small-caps retreated 1.62 percent. We can see a significant lack of buying interest from retail investors, particularly in the small-cap segment, said Kappa Securities Head Analyst Nikos Galoussis. Turnover was 238.40 million euros. Losers beat winners 277 to 58. (Reuters) They also participated in the respective prefectural organizations for the coordination of volunteers, and will soon be included in the mobilization of plans to confront natural disasters.