ECONOMY

OTE helps pull bourse out of nine-session slump

Steady gains in heavyweight OTE Telecom kept the Athens benchmark general index in positive territory yesterday, with stocks recovering after a steep 4.17- percent drop a day earlier. The general index broke a nine-session losing streak to end with gains of 0.75 percent to 2,555.94 points, but still down from a morning high of 2,584.12 points. There’s a growing trend of renewed interest in public telecoms operators because they have stable fixed-line business, compared to the problems mobile operators have faced with expensive third-generation licenses, said analyst Costas Karitsos at Intersec. The Athens bourse’s FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips held on to gains of 0.60 percent, ending at 1,435.77 points. The FTSE/ASE MID-40 index of mid-caps added 0.85 percent. Small-caps rose 0.69 percent. We had a technical rebound in Europe (yesterday), which the Greek market followed. But for a change in climate and a sustainable upward trend, we need more positive news, said head analyst Vassilis Theodorou at P&K Securities. Turnover came to 143.71 million euros on 21.7 million shares traded. Winners beat losers 257 to 69.(Reuters) Computers and the Internet have only scratched the surface of state bureaucracy in Greece, but the pace of penetration is expected to pick up in the coming years. According to a program by the Ministry of National Economy, titled Information Society, the State is expected to spend as much as 2,839 million euros by 2006 in areas of education, culture, citizen services, and communications. Specifically, the money, gathered from the EU, state and private funds, will be allocated as follows: development and employment in digital economy, 901.7 million euros (31.8 percent); citizen services and improvement of quality of life, 879.4 million (31 percent); communications, 569.2 million (20 percent); education and culture, 421 million (14.8 percent); and technical support, 67.7 million (2.4 percent).