ECONOMY

Stocks steady again ahead of PM’s speech

Shares on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) hardly moved for a second day in a row, with the market maintaining a wait-and-see attitude ahead of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis’s economic policy statement at the Thessaloniki International Fair this weekend. The session was marked by a partial recovery in small-capitalization stocks, led by textiles, especially the Klonatex Group stocks (all five of which gained at least 17 percent), and information technology firms. The ASE general index closed at 2,335.32 points, a drop of 0.32 points or just 0.01 percent. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips declined 0.19 percent, while mid- and small-caps gained 0.13 percent and 0.76 percent respectively. Most lively among blue chips were Hellenic Petroleum, which gained 1.47 percent to close at 6.90 euros, Intracom, up 1.30 percent to 3.12 euros, and CosmOTE, up 1.04 percent to 13.54 euros. OTE ended unchanged at 10.78 euros, while National and Alpha banks lost 0.55 percent and 0.47 percent respectively. Of the 354 traded stocks, 154 gained, 123 declined and 77 ended unchanged. Turnover improved to 66.74 million euros, of which 6.50 million involved prearranged transactions.